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Remembering Doctor Gage Ochsner

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SAVANNAH, GA -

He dedicated his life to serving and healing others, but on Friday, he lost his own battle with lung cancer.

In his short 59 years, Doctor Gage Ochsner Jr. operated on tens of thousands of patients. Now, Memorial University is calling the loss of one of their own a devastating blow.

As the chief of trauma and surgical critical care at Memorial, Dr. Ochsner touched many lives. He was an educator, a scholar, a veteran and a family man—but he was also a champion of medicine and providing the best care possible.

"We don't have enough trauma centers - this is where we have most of our preventable deaths - are in this area cause people just can't get to us and I see one or two people a month, maybe more - that did shortly after they get to me - had I got 'em 20, 30 minutes earlier - they weren't hard to save - any good surgeon could do it - but they didn't get to us in time."

That was Dr. Gage Ochsner just two and a half years ago—fighting for the Georgia Trauma Care Funding Amendment.

He wanted everyone to have a chance at survival thanks to a top tier trauma center. Memorial Vice President, Raymon Meguiar says his compassion made him great.

"Gage often talked about the ‘golden hour,' that hour after an injury when care needs to be delivered aggressively. He wanted everyone to be able to have access to that sort of care."

Meguiar says Ochsner was driven and tenacious—he joined Memorial University in 1994, and since then operated on nearly ten thousand patients.

"He certainly held himself to very high standards, and he held everyone else around him to those same high standards. He had expectations of delivering the very best."

Before Memorial, he spent fifteen years practicing medicine in the military, as one of the best—he mentored and groomed others to follow in his footsteps.

"There are a lot of people who are better surgeons and doctors. I think we all here at Memorial are better at whatever we do, whether we are doctors or administrators or nurses or whatever services we provide, because of the example that Gage set for us."

While he was a superior doctor, he loved his family and lived life to the fullest.

"There was no question that Gage was compassionate. He cared about all of his patience, he loved his family. He cared about his friends. He was passionate about not only his work, but the things he enjoyed doing outside of work. So he brought into his life and everyone that came in contact with him a sense of value."

And as a man who spent so much time helping others….

"We don't get to pick when we leave, you know. I think he would say that about a lot of the people he took care of, gone way too soon."

Dr. Ochsner lived a remarkable life saving lives, now the ones he groomed along the way are prepared to carry on his legacy at Memorial.

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