Dr. N.C. SCLATER * (1) Consultant Physician, The Cenacle, New Brighton: LETTER to ARTHUR HIBBETT Esq. 95, Foden Rd Walsall.
AT HOME: 9 to 10 a.m. 6 to 7 p.m. DARNA, Telephone: 245 Liscard. 1. EARLSTON ROAD, LISCARD, Cheshire. (2)
25th Nov. 1916. A. Hibbett Esq.
I have today made a special & careful examination of your son’s injury.
I am pleased to say that I find the condition very much more successful than I could at one time have hoped to obtain. The long period of patient waiting has been justified by the success.
At first on arrival here, it looked as though the hand would be certainly saved but a hand that would be useless save for the simplest work owing to loss of important movements (pronation & supination) (3) through destruction of the bone.
Fortunately all movements have been retained, and a really useful hand is the result. Healing is not quite complete, and a portion of dead bone may still have to be removed (4).
I have ordered an X.ray plate (5) to be made at an early date so that we may see how things are.
When your son returns home in some weeks time he will I trust be well able to resume active life & earn his own living.
Pte Bertie Hibbett’s gunshot wound on 1st July 1916 was potentially very serious. Many soldiers died even from seemingly minor injuries, when they did not receive immediate medical attention & septicemia set it. My father in My Memories. 1967 wondered why a fellow soldier, with a similar wound, died while he lived on. It is no wonder that he felt so grateful to his pal Arthur Venables (commemorated Thiepval Memorial to the Missing) who gave him that vital first-aid in No Man’s Land, Gommecourt.
My grandfather, Arthur Hibbett, Walsall Borough Education Officer, would have been interested in the doctor who was treating his son and the use of X-rays & he would have known of the 1905 petition by the Royal College of Surgeons regarding Hygiene Education in schools to which Dr Sclater was a signatory.
(1) Dr Nelson Cameron Sclater: born 1875? Dingle, Lancashire. Married Violet Salmon. Listed British Army Service Records, 1914 -1920. Died 1965. One of 14,718 Signatories to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’s Petition to Central Education Authorities of England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland distributed to Medical Professions of the United Kingdom. Royal College of Surgeons. Published 1905 by Morland, Birmingham. (Detail continued below).
(2) No 1. Earlston Rd: good to see Dr Sclater’s old home ‘Darna‘ is still thriving as ‘Earlston and Seabanks N.H.S Medical Centre (Wirral) with a musculoskeletal specialist. No doubt with very different hours!
(3) Pronation & Supination: anatomical terms for ‘pair of unique movements’ re rotation of forearm or foot. Pronation:– hand & upper arm turned inwards. Supination:- forearm & hand turned outwards.
(4) ‘Removal of dead bone’: Pte Bertie Hibbett underwent an ‘operation to the right wrist’ ,13th Dec.1916 at Fazakerly Hospital, Liverpool.
(5) X-rays: discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. 1845-1923, Professor at Würzburg University. X-ray: ‘invisible ray able to pass through solid matter & in conjunction with photographic plate provide a picture of bones & interior body parts’. By 1896 X-rays were being ‘used by battle field physicians to locate bullets in wounded soldiers’. NDT Resource Centre website.
[ (1) Continued: THE UNDERSIGNED MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, having constantly before us the serious physical and moral conditions of degeneracy and disease resulting from the neglect and infraction of the elementary laws of Hygiene, venture to urge the CENTRAL EDUCATIONAL AUTHORITIES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM TO CONSIDER WHETHER it would not be possible to include in the curricula of the Public Elementary Schools, and to encourage in the Secondary Schools, such teaching as may, without developing any tendency to dwell on what is unwholesome, lead all the children to appreciate at their true value healthful bodily conditions as regards Cleanliness, Pure Air, Food, Drink, etc.
In making this request we are well aware that at the present time pupils may receive teaching on the laws of Health, by means of subjects almost invariably placed upon the Optional Code. By this method effective instruction is given to a small proportion of the pupils only. This does not appear to us to be adequate. We believe that it should be compulsory and be given at a much earlier age than at present. It may, perhaps, be useful to call attention to what is being achieved in this direction by English speaking nations. In reviewing the steps taken it will be noted that one of the most prominent subjects with which the various countries have found it necessary to deal, is the question of the nature and effects of Alcohol.
In the ARMY SCHOOLS of this country and of all our foreign stations west of Aden, teaching in Elementary Hygiene is compulsory; such teaching including Temperance, Health and Sanitation, special attention being drawn to the deleterious effects of Alcohol.]
NEXT POST: 10th DEC. 1916.