The Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, Deelfontein near De Aar

The stories of several “visiting” doctors are also woven into the chronicles of the Karoo. Several of these great medical men served at the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, near Richmond, during the Anglo-Boer War. Perhaps the greatest of them was Dr John Hall-Edwards, who headed the X-ray unit. Known as the “father of British X-rays”, he was also hailed as the publicist for military X-rays because of his efforts to have units sent to South Africa for use during this war.  These efforts and the work done at the IYH at Deelfontein cost him his right hand and fingers of the left due to radiation burns, yet he went on to practice hobbies such as photography.

Another of the surgeons who served at the IYH in the Karoo was Dr John Brian Christopherson, was nominated for the Nobel Prize, after his discovery in 1918 that an ancient poison, antimony, could be used to treat bilharzias.

The IYH dentist, Frederick Newland-Pedley,  gave his name to a special porcelain crown which he devised and one of their colleagues, Dr Howard Tooth, who worked at Portland Hospital, was honoured (with two colleagues) for  research, on a hereditary progressive neuropathic muscular atrophy that affects the motor nerves of the legs and feet. The diseased is named the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and symptoms usually begin between in mid-childhood and early adulthood.

© Rose’s Roundup,

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