When were you first admitted to the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital?
I was age nine and it happened quite suddenly. My hip, I had a terrific pain in my hip and I went down. I was a normal healthy kid up to nine, age of nine, and all of a sudden this pain, sharp pain came in my hip and I just collapsed, I couldn’t walk.
And what did your parents do then?
Well, my elder brother and my brother-in-law got a spinal carriage from somewhere and took me down to the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital which was about three, four miles away from my home, on the same road.
And who did you see when you arrived at the hospital?
I saw a doctor at the hospital and he examined my hip and he said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with the lad. I can’t see anything wrong with the lad’. And my brother was persistent. He said, ‘Well he collapsed on the floor, he can’t walk without pain, extreme pain, there must be something wrong with him’. So the doc said, ‘Alright, I’ll keep him in for two days’ observation’.
What sort of examination did he give you then to say there was nothing wrong with you?
Well, he examined me and then he sent me down to the X-ray department and the X-ray department showed a blur, I think on my hip joint and he said, ‘Ooh, we’ll have to investigate a bit further’ and I was in Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital for twenty-four months, a year or two years, while they investigated.
How were you feeling at this time?
Very, very [laughs] – of course I was only nine, so I didn’t really realise what was happening. So anyway they decided to operate and try and find out what was causing the pain in my hip.
How long had you been in before they decided to operate?
I don’t know, this was, in those days, I was talking about 1925, twenty-six, early days, and the orthopaedic research was only just beginning. And so they decided to operate on my hip and find out what was wrong. And they operated on my hip and scraped the hip bone, which they shouldn’t have done. But they was looking to see what was causing it. Anyway, this caused the hip to go worse and eventually they gave me up at the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital and said they’ll have these more expert investigation and treatment and they sent me off to Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital [in Northampton], which specialises in bone disorders.
So was that a very painful operation that you had at the Coventry and Warwick?
No, it wasn’t actually a painful operation. I mean in those days they put a mask over – I mean it isn’t as it is today – I mean they put this awful mask over your face with the chloroform and poured the chloroform on the mask until you, you know, they kept talking to you until you went to sleep. And this was how they operated in those days.