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15 October 2014
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Penicillin Saved My Life

by peggybenford

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Dorothy Anne Crowther
Location of story: 
Stairfoot, Barnsley
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 January 2004

I think it was in 1940 that I caught Diphtheria. I was six years old and, apparently, I had caught the disease from a splinter from a school desk.

I was very ill and was in a coma for three days. I knew nothing about what happened when they took me in the ambulance to the isolation hospital at the top of the hill.

Apparently, it was touch and go but the Doctors gave me penicillin, which was in very short supply at the time, because most of the drug went to the soldiers on the front line. It was, also, not widely known of at the time. The penicillin definitely saved my life.

I remember, when I came round, I was in a room on my own, with a nurse on duty all the time.

The room was quite big and had two big sash windows. Later, my Mother came to see me but, as I was strictly isolated, she had to stand on a ladder, which was leaning on the wall at the side of one of the sash windows. They pushed the top window down and she was able to see me over the top of the window, standing on the ladder outside.

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Message 1 - Penicillin Saved My Life

Posted on: 21 January 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Peggy,

Yours is a very interesting story, but could you check your dates?

The first human trial of penicillin took place in 1941. It was first used on soldiers in 1943. You will find an excellent account of the discovery here links and here links

Kind regards


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