Do you have any connections with Sully, the famous TB and heart hospital? (1936-2001) either as a patient or as a member of staff?
Would you like your story added to this blog? contact me- Ann Shawemail@example.com
I was a teenage patient there and I have written a book
"Searching for Sully" - available from Amazon, paperback, price £9.99
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Pam Foreman-wife of the late Dr Bill Foreman
Dr Bill Foreman ( left) walking in the grounds of Sully hospital with Dr Len West Pam Foreman, widow of Dr Bill Foreman, the hospital superintendent at Sully
offers some of her memories
She recalls that surgeons
practised open-heart surgery on sheep and afterwards sent them to one of the
single wards kept for post-operative care in order to simulate as closely as
possible the procedure intended for humans.
Such was the dedication of
the surgeons and doctors that she recalls the wife of one surgeon saying that
if she were a sheep she would see more of her husband.
Another practise amongst those early pioneers of open heart surgery was the procedure of lowering the body
temperature to allow heart surgery to take place. This involved wrapping the
patient in blankets then lowering him into a bath full of ice.
This gave the surgeons a
six-minute window of opportunity to work on the heart.
Following the post-war period
there were great medical advances made for the treatment of TB heralded by the
discovery of streptomycin.
She recalls overhearing her
husband discussing alternative drug regimes with another doctor:” If X doesn’t
work let’s try Y…” then he added
“ If this works then we could be doing
ourselves out of a job.”
His prediction proved
correct. For the new drug regime revolutionized the treatment of TB, which in
turn led to surgeons retraining in heart surgery.
Even today former staff still
speak with fondness of those far off days and the great family atmosphere
engendered by Sully then at its height as a great model- hospital .
Some of that is due to the
family atmosphere generated by Dr Bill Foreman, the unassuming hospital
superintendent, from New Zealand, and helped by another Antipodean Dr Len West,
Certainly Sully encouraged
close contacts with doctors from Third World countries and many gained their
qualifications in thoracic medicine there.
Sunday lunch at the Foreman’s
for the foreign doctors was an established social event.
“Many had left their families
behind and we offered then a bit of normality. They would play afterwards with
our six children.”
On Christmas Day the Foreman
children had to make sure all their presents were opened before 11 o clock
because Dr Foreman had to go and carve the turkey for the patients.
On his return at three
o’clock the Foreman family could then enjoy their own Christmas dinner.
Dr Foreman and Dr West (centre) with Sully doctors
Dr Foreman, trained
at the Brompton hospital in London, and he was appointed hospital superintendent at Sully in 1951.
Aware of the isolation of Sully hospital
from the rest of the community he recognized the need to introduce recreational
facilities for the staff.
Through his foresight, energy
and contacts with local charities Sully hospital got both a swimming pool and tennis
courts for staff and radio and telephones in the wards for the patients.
was awarded an MBE for his selfless work during the war helping the suffering
of fellow POWs, a part of his life he rarely talked about.