Infectious Patients Update, 1935
Most of my assumptions about what visiting time at hospitals used to be like I’ve gleaned from the Carry On films. That, and the 1959 episode of Hancock’s Half Hour I was listening to on the bus earlier, “Hancock in Hospital”, where the lad is kept in for weeks with a broken leg and visiting time lasted for a mere two hours, once a week.
The most I’ve been in hospital was for 3 nights after a cesarean section and that felt like plenty long enough, quite apart from the insane situation of having major surgery, which you recover from by immediately having to look after and feed a newborn all through the night. And in fact I first listened to that Hancock episode while I was in hospital for another operation three years ago, but it turns out morphine injections rather hamper your concentration and I couldn’t remember any of it, so it was nice to listen to it again while I was in sound mind.
Anyway, in short, I don’t really know how visiting time worked for sure. But I have become fascinated by the infectious patient reports in old newspapers. Local newspapers used to print information about such patients, who presumably weren’t allowed visitors at all as a general rule – each patient had a number and their friends and family could consult the paper to check their progress.
So many stories there, reduced to the bare bones of information. I find myself worrying about the dangerously ill patients. Considering the information needed to be with the paper to be printed the day before, did the friends and family find out and get to the hospital in time?