I have been doing much research for years on the esophageal hiatal hernia. I found exactly one paper on-line (from the US military, I believe, I cannot relocate it) that mentioned in passing that there were dedicated hiatal hernia treatment centers all across the country around the 1950s.
What happened to them?
If there were so many, they must have had some success.
And what was their treatment(s)?
The standard fundoplication surgery was brand-new then, so I doubt they were just places for surgery, especially when a surgical hospital would do.
As I very faintly recall, they at least treated by abdominal pressure changes via syringe. Maybe someone here knows a person who was a doctor around that era who might even recall such centers.