Richard John Sowersby

Pneumococcal meningitis at 1

Pneumococcal meningitis

In 1948, two days after his first birthday, Richard was admitted to hospital with pneumococcal meningitis.

His mother had been given £100 as a 21st birthday present by her parents and she spent it all on getting a newly developed drug from America to treat him. It had to be collected from London by the police and taken to the hospital, but doctors informed her that without it Richard would have died.

The illness has left him with a stone deaf right ear and a partially deaf left ear and he has worn a hearing aid since. He is also extremely short sighted. In the same year, 1948, his godfather’s daughter also had meningitis with no after effects.

Below is Richard’s mother’s account in her own words:

Richard John Sowersby
D.O.B. 14/03/47

Taken to Booker Isolation Hospital near High Wycombe 16/03/48.

Given a lumbar puncture. Pneumococcal meningitis.

Five days later a relapse. Given penicillin.

Five days later another relapse. Called in Dr Wilcox from Windsor.

Given a new drug streptomycin.

Came home first week in April.

During first year had all injections for mumps, measles, polio.

During first six years you had measles, mumps, chicken pox.

Had eyes operated on by Dr Purvis at Oxford. Aged seven years.

Deafness caused by streptomycin.

Grandad Palmer with Roy Caper discovered streptomycin caused deafness.

When this drug came to the UK a police car went from Uxbridge to London and from Uxbridge Marlow Police took it to the hospital.

I was asked if I would give permission to use it. I said “yes”.

I think you are my wonder boy.

MAY 2013