A Founder of Critical Care Medicine

In May of 2020, George Benzing III, MD, passed away quietly in his home at the age of 93. The impact he’s made at Cincinnati Children’s, however, rings loudly among his students, colleagues and the kids and families we serve.

As a compassionate clinician and innovative researcher, Dr. Benzing helped revolutionize the field of cardiovascular medicine during his 54-year career. His team conducted the first heart transplant at the medical center in 1968. That same year, he founded our first, four bed cardiac intensive care unit.

“Dr. Benzing was largely responsible for developing our critical care services,” says Hector Wong, MD, vice chair of Pediatrics. “Before there were protocols and algorithms to guide clinical care, there were physicians like Dr. Benzing, who was fearless and singularly dedicated to the care of sick children.”

Always striving to advance pediatric medicine, Dr. Benzing served as the medical director of the intensive care unit for 26 years. He collected many awards in recognition of his achievements, including the Cincinnati Pediatric Society’s Founder’s Award and the George Benzing / Ed Lowe Award, established by the hospital to recognize outstanding senior residents in critical care medicine.

Even his retirement in 1998 didn’t stop the dedicated doctor from continuing his work at the hospital six or seven days a week, always writing things down in his research notebook. 

“Up until March 2015, Dr. Benzing joined rounds every day, and it was always comforting to have his wisdom and counsel nearby,” Dr. Wong says.

And his legacy doesn’t stop there. Because Dr. Benzing named Cincinnati Children’s as a beneficiary of his estate, the generous bequest he’s made will continue supporting the medical center’s vision to improve child health. 

“His work ethic was unmatched, as was his humility,” Dr. Wong shares. “This is his legacy—we should all strive to be a bit more like ‘Dr. B.’”