Category Archives: Tuberculosis

How I saved Brian Turner’s life

My X-ray not Brian Turner's
My X-ray not Brian Turner’s

This is my chest X-ray not my patient’s. If you looked very carefully on a proper viewing box you would be able to see the calcified lymph glands at the root of my lung. These are the ‘tombstones’ that indicate that I had symptomless tuberculosis as a child, as so many of my generation did. I might have got it from the ‘healthy’ milk I was sent to get from the  dairy between Commercial Street and Valance Road.  There you could buy unpasteurized milk, thought to be specially good for growing children and no doubt teeming with TB bacteria. Or I might have caught it from someone with open pulmonary tuberculosis. There were large ‘DO NOT SPIT’ notices everywhere to try to reduce the spread of TB.

My first post after I qualified in medicine was as a house surgeon in St Margaret’s Ear, Nose and Throat departments. We admitted patients for the Monday morning operating list on the preceding Sunday afternoon.

Excerpt from my memoir Woman in a White Coat
Brian Turner was lucky he snored so loudly. His new wife had issued an ultimatum – get fixed or get to sleep in the spare room. His GP referred him to St Margaret’s and I admitted him one Sunday afternoon to have his adenoids removed next day. I was by now allowed to remove tonsils and adenoids under general anaesthetic in theatre. Removing adult adenoids was scrumptious, nice big adenoids to remove. Continue reading How I saved Brian Turner’s life