Dr. George P. Noon has focused his surgical career in organ transplantation and cardiac assist devices. In 1968, Dr. Noon, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, and their surgical team performed their first heart and later lung transplant. The program was discontinued because worldwide results were discouraging. When the immunosuppressant cyclosporine became available in 1986, Drs. Noon and DeBakey restarted the transplant program.
It was crucial for the surgical team to provide mechanical ventricular assistance for patients with heart failure. Dr. Noon became the primary surgeon for the insertion of ventricular assist devices. In 1988, Drs. Noon and DeBakey met with engineers from NASA to develop a miniature axial flow blood pump. Ten years later, Dr. Noon participated in the care of President Boris Yeltsin, who needed a coronary bypass operation. In the same year, the first MicroMed DeBakey-Noon human implants were performed in Berlin, Germany. In 1999, Dr. Noon was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame.
Dr. Noon is a member of multiple societies, has been invited as a guest lecturer and surgeon throughout the world, and has authored more than 350 publications. He is internationally known and respected for his pioneering research and clinical expertise in transplantation and assist devices.
Over the years, Dr. Noon, has brought great distinction and many honors to Baylor College of Medicine beginning in 1956, when he was a medical student, and to the Department of Surgery since 1965, when he became a faculty member.
Since he began his residency in 1960, Dr. Noon has been a sustaining complete physician, with attention to detail in his patient care, pursuing excellence in his research, and continually teaching all clinical personnel around him. Dr. Kenneth Mattox distinctly recalls the intern, Dr. George Noon, teaching him how to suture lacerations in the emergency room at Jefferson Davis Hospital back in 1960.
In fact, Dr. George Noon was affectionately known to the medical students, residents, and consultants of all specialties as “Captain Midnight.” He would often be found at midnight in the operating room or the intensive care unit of Methodist Hospital caring for a patient with a persistent or recurrent problem, long after all other staff had left for the night, all the while, looking for better ways to do an operation or teaching the current best surgical practice to all who were scrubbed with him.
It was a team led by Dr. Noon, who, just after the first heart transplantation in South Africa, converted the Baylor College of Medicine Research Laboratories on the 4th Floor of the Baylor building, and worked out the Baylor techniques for heart and lung transplantation. In 1968, Dr. Noon, Dr. DeBakey, and their surgical team translated these efforts into their first heart and later lung transplant, one of the first in the USA.
Dr. Noon has remained a pioneer in the research and clinical development of cardiac transplantation and assist devices. In 1998, for instance, the first MicroMed DeBakey-Noon human implants were performed in Berlin, Germany. Reflective of these and his other contributions mentioned earlier, Dr. Noon was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1999.
For more than 50 years, Dr. Noon has served the Houston community as an academic, a physician, and a leader in the development and implementation of cutting-edge procedures and technologies that have made a difference in the lives of countless patients from Houston and around the world. His pioneering work is one of the reasons Baylor College of Medicine is a leading institution in the field of organ transplantation and cardiac assist devices.