Incidents and case studies ashore 7 - Incident as a patient, 1970s

  • PDF
  • Print
  • E-mail
Mary MorrisMary Morris

Service: 1962 - 1984

Rate: Chief Petty Officer Enrolled Nurse (General)

Mary Morris joined the QARNNS (Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service) in 1962 as a Probationary Naval Nurse Auxiliary. She worked at Royal Naval Hospitals in Gibraltar, Plymouth, Mauritius and RM Deal. During her service she saw many changes as the QARNNS gradually became more and more part of the Navy, such as the QARNNS becoming subject to the Naval Discipline Act after which they were required to march and salute.

Listen to Mary's experience of being a patient.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Extract Text (Duration 1.37)

It seemed very funny, but then I'd always held the belief that a nurse should always be a patient in a hospital bed to learn what the other side was like, and it certainly was an eye-opener.  And I think it... in fact it made me a better nurse when I came out.  But you never forget you're a nurse, because we had a rather funny incident on the ward... well looking back it was a funny incident but at the time it was rather frightening.  Hmmm, one of the very large oxygen cylinders fell over and the valve fell out, so instinctively the first thing I did... I'd managed to collapse my lung and I'd had a chest drain in, so bottle, chest drain and everything, I jumped out of bed, and immediately evacuated my end of the ward to make sure the patients were safe, and then tried to concentrate on where my friend was at the other end of the ward.  In the meantime, this oxygen was still going and it sounded like a World War II bomb.  We managed to evacuate the other end of the ward as well and at the time one of the doctors happened to walk in the ward with a cigarette in his hand, and we sort of had to shout to get out, quickly.  We managed to secure the place, get the cylinder emptied, but the next morning, when Sister walked on the ward, she said, quite calmly, "Why didn't somebody just pick it up and throw it out of the window?"  As we had very small windows on E5 and also it was a very long way down because we were on the third floor, so I don't think that would have been very helpful really, but, it was a thought that we took in mind for the next time an incident like that happened.

Only case of syphilis, 1960s

3.07 mins - mp3 File

Alcohol abuse

1.39 mins - mp3 File

Explosion on HMS Indomitable

1:25 mins - mp3 File

Incident as a patient

1.37 mins - mp3 File

Sunburnt submariner

0.47 mins - mp3 File

Chubby Chiefs section

1.13 mins - mp3 File

Surprise delivery at Lossiemouth

0.50 mins - mp3 File