Instruments of Change
Listen here to the oral history extracts featured in the Instruments of Change exhibition.
The University of Manchester has a long history of medical research, teaching and breakthroughs. Instruments of Change highlights Manchester innovations and how the University has helped to shape patient care. The oral histories we capture through the NHS at 70 project illuminate these stories with personal voices.
For more information on the Instruments of Change Exhibition click here (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/museum/events/instruments-of-change/)
Early use of penicillin
Charles talks about his experience of having peritonitis in 1945 and how he was treated with penicillin supplied by Americans, who were using Park Hospital (Trafford Hospital) during the Second World War
“I ended up with incisions in two parts and I was told… that they actually tipped penicillin powder itself into the abdominal cavity”.
Children in hospital
Reflects on her experience of being hospitalised in 1948 aged 5 and the impact this had on her.
“The other memory which has scarred me for life …was my mum and dad used to come and visit and then I’d get upset you know. So then, what they did, was banned my mum and dad from seeing me. Can you believe that? Because what they said is, ‘Oh she is getting too upset so don’t come again’. And so I remember one day, I saw them peeping behind this screen at the entrance to the ward…I just went mad and I got out of bed and I started to run… they had just disappeared as obviously they were scared as they didn’t want to upset the staff... I can remember running all over the hospital…and someone must have caught me and taken me back. But then I didn’t see my mum and dad.”
Talks about changes in anaesthesia as halothane was phased out during the 1980s.
‘The main drug at the time was halothane, which I think a lot of people have heard of because it came from Liverpool and Manchester and was quite famous, but halothane was running into problems because it seemed to be causing liver disease and another drug had come along, enflurane, which was slightly different as was an ether but it had its own vaporiser because these vaporisers are specific to each agent.’
June recalls her experience of the launch of the NHS in July 1948.
“My father was a Manchester City Councillor and when I was 8 Aneurin Bevan came to stay the night with us because he was going to launch the NHS. My mother said to me we are going to take our guest breakfast in bed and you can come with me. So we took a tray upstairs. I do remember exactly what he looked like sitting up in bed in his pyjamas with a shock of grey hair….My mother said it was the most amazing time to be involved in politics, we felt as though we were going to build the New Jerusalem.”