Thursday, 22 May 2008

Brian Skitt recalls his time in MHH from 1938 to 1942

My Name is Brian Skitt, born 24th June 1936.

When I was two years old (about Sept 1938) I was diagnosed with TB of the spine and after spending a short time in Leeds General Infirmary for tests I was transferred to the Marguerite Hepton Hospital Thorp Arch. I remained in the hospital until October 1942 after a stay of 4 years.

The treatment for TB in those days was to lie perfectly still and be wheeled out onto the open fresh air in all weather conditions. To this end I was strapped to a frame to avoid body movement.

During the latter part of my stay I underwent lengthy surgery to remove the damaged part of the vertebrae and to undergo a lengthy process of bone grafting. I have a scar from between the shoulder blades to the base of the spine. The surgeon at Marguerite Hepton Hospital was Mr Payne (Broomhead & Payne at Leeds Infirmary).

In the wartime years it was very difficult to get to the hospital by public transport as Thorp Arch is in a remote area, there was full rationing and visitors were only allowed one a month.  My own mother had to get 3 buses to get to Boston Spa and then have a long walk to the hospital.   This was a period when many fathers were serving in the forces.