Book charts 100 years of medical care

6928783MYTCHALL BRANSGROVEFairfax NZ REVISED EDITION: Author Doug Drake, left, Bidwill Trust Hospital Board chairman Mark Hervey with copies of The Bidwill Story, 100 years of hospital history.

Timaru Herald
MEGAN MILLER

A century of growth, change and medical advancement in Timaru is chronicled in a new edition of a book on the history of Bidwill Trust Hospital.

The book, The Bidwill Story, was researched and written by historian and former Timaru Herald chief reporter Doug Drake. It "brings to life the medical scene of Timaru over 100 years", Drake said. The book represents hours spent sifting through old administrative reports, meeting minutes and newspaper articles for details on the decisions and events that formed the hospital that exists today.

But more importantly, he said, the book told the stories of men and women who shaped the Timaru community through decades of work to keep the hospital going. The first private hospital in South Canterbury opened in a two-storey brick building in Bidwill St on July 13, 1912. It boasted several patient rooms, an operating theatre, and a small staff headed by Sister MS McArthur.

Today, Bidwill Trust Hospital houses three operating theatres, a 14-bed in-patient area and a 14-bed day surgery, and handles nearly 2000 procedures each year, according to hospital manager Val Flynn. But the hospital, which remains South Canterbury's only private hospital, traces its roots back to Sister McArthur's small brick building 100 years ago.

The Bidwill Story, first published in 2001 to mark the opening of the hospital's new building, has been revised and brought up to date in a second edition that coincides with the hospital's centennial celebration.

Its publication could also mark the end of a long writing career for Mr Drake, who said that, at the age of 85, he was content for it to be his last book. His previous works include Wings Over South Canterbury and They Served with Honour, a history of South Canterbury airmen in World War I and World War II.

The revised edition of The Bidwill Story can be bought at the hospital reception for $10.

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