General Practitioner and
Emergency Medicine specialist
Pieter Landsberg was revered as the father and doyen of diving medicine in South Africa. He was a doctor with a true passion for underwater and hyperbaric medicine and physiology. Together with a few other doctors, Pieter evolved the concept of a formal diving medical association, and SAUHMA was formed in 1992. Pieter was the first president.
The Southern African Underwater and Hyperbaric Medical Association (SAUHMA} is an organisation of voluntary members with a special interest in the subject of underwater and/or hyperbaric medicine, recognised by the Council of the South African Medical Association as a special interest group.
Pieter Landsberg was born 1936 in Linley, Orange Free State. Coming to Johannesburg, he attended Primrose Primary School and Jeppe Boys High School, before entering medical school. He was a star student, gaining four first class passes in his first year in the 1955 examinations.
In 1961, he entered general practice in Benoni with his classmate Colin Robertson and Dr Dezulovic. In the early 2000s after his partners died, Pieter started his solo practice at home. Pieter and his wife Maureen had three children, daughter Daryl and sons Keith and Adriaan in Benoni.
He had a great interest in emergency medicine. He became involved with the Red Cross where he gave weekly lectures. He was also fiercely concerned in the training of the fire-fighting unit in Benoni. With the head of the Fire Service, Ted Barber, Pieter travelled abroad to learn how to improve fire stations and to better equip emergency medical services in Benoni.
As a navy reservist, Pieter developed enthusiasms in deep-water diving and power boating. He used this expertise to offer assistance at water-sport events in Benoni and at the Vaal River. He was key in bringing the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) inland, to monitor water safety in the dams around Benoni and the Vaal.
He gained an additional degree from the University of Pretoria for his thesis on the physiology of carbon dioxide in breath-hold diving and the causes of divers’ death at great depths. He was a founder of the Transvaal Sub-Aqua Club.
Pieter, as a Lieutenant Commander in the South Africa Navy, was a lecturer at the only diving and submarine medicine course, held annually at the naval base in Simonstown.
Pieter was a devoted family man. He had a great sense of humour and was dedicated to his profession. In his mid-70s he developed hydrocephalus and degeneration of the spinal cord, affecting his mobility.
At age 76 years in 2012, he retired from medical practice and died in August 2014 at home in Benoni, aged 78 years.
(Based on the obituary in the Benoni City Times, August 21, 2014)