Medical History

Amelia Mary Siedle, Town Councillor in Durban for 7 years, was the founder of the Addington Children’s Hospital. In 1923 she brought forward her resolution in the Council Chamber advocating for the erection of a Children’s Hospital in Durban. She proposed that the Council grant £14,000 with the Provincial Council providing £14,000. The additional £14,000 would be raised by the public.

Certainties during most of human history were famine, death and pestilence and war, as per the ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’. We have the Pestilence ‘horseman’ galloping across the world right now, as in the Covid-19 pandemic. During this pandemic we contemplate our exposure to this ‘pestilence’ with a certain raw, ancient fear. We are waiting for the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19) with some anxiety, hoping that this disease can be brought to an end.

In July 1964 an International Congress of Surgeons was held at the Wits Medical School in Johannesburg. It was well attended by Surgeons from all over the world including South Africa.

At the time, I was a Registrar (a Surgeon in training and studying for a higher qualification) working in the Professorial Unit of the Johannesburg General Hospital just across the road from the Conference. It was a late Friday afternoon – July 24th 1964.

Having graduated with the double Bachelor's degree MB Bch in 1959 after 6 years of study, I was now a brand-new Doctor.

The Medical training program at the time called for 2 more years of practical work under supervision, in a teaching hospital of one's choice before being officially qualified to practice. This was a bit like an Apprenticeship but called an Internship. Ironically we were not called Interns but Housemen or House Surgeons.

Below are a few edited excerpts from an article on the early history of Tara compiled by Avril Read from the Sandton Historical Association. They appeared in the Association's 1987 journal.

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