Updated 1037, 20 Mar 2013

Opening of the Anaesthetic Museum.

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The Opening of the

ALEX LARSON Museum of Anaesthesia

15 March 2013 at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham
    The new Anaesthetic Museum in the Anaesthetic Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital was assembled by Sharon Holland, and has been named after Alex Larson (Consultant Anaesthetist at Portsmouth 1964-1988), who was probably the most important and influential person in the history of this Department. He was highly motivated and very innovative, set high standards, and worked enormously hard. His three children, Claire, Simon and Helga were present at the Opening.

    At the beginning of the evening, Helga cut the ribbon (see photo), which was in front of the plaque commemorating the Alex Larson Museum of Anaesthesia. This was followed by a presentation outlining the history of the department given by Robert Palmer with projected pictures of the hospitals and details of former departmental members and events in a chronological order from 1948 to 1990. Time constraints prevented covering the period from 1990 to the present.

    During this, there was also a short presentation by James Eldridge about Mike Tunstall whom he had met. It was particularly interesting to hear how Tunstall had worked hard to persuade BOC to manufacture "Entonox" - a task that many thought impossible - and how its first clinical use was here in Portsmouth.

    At the end of the presentation, Simon gave a short talk about his father, and gave us an insight into his love of pranks, and his great talent for art and design, in particular woodcarving. He also described the great support their mother had been to them and their father. Helga then presented two prints of fine anatomical drawings done by Alex Larson to Sharon Holland, which now have pride of place in the museum. Gary Smith also donated several enthralling books about the history of anaesthesia to the museum.

    During the presentation there were welcome and interesting contributions from the audience, in particular from David Desgrand who was one of the registrars appointed to work in the intensive care unit after the parliamentary question in 1977. Chris Linton pointed out that it was Robin Denham not he who piloted the plane which landed on the Eastern Road. There was a lively exchange about whether David Desgrand or Bob Young first introduced spinals to Portsmouth for obstetric anaesthesia. Gary Smith, Bruce Taylor, Ian Sutherland and Hector Arthur also made a number of interesting observations. There was a fair amount of coming and going but probably about 60 people were there at one time or another, and I have attempted to list all the attendees below (my apologies if I have forgotten anyone). Drinks and sweetmeats were served. Many "old faces" are shown in the accompanying photos.

    An addendum is that Mary Hamer Hodges, Jim Hamer Hodges' daughter, had visited the museum on 5th March 2013, and her photo is included. She kindly donated a photo to the museum of the delegates to the 1955 World Society of Anaesthetists meeting held in the Netherlands and her father is in the photo. He also featured prominently in the presentation which included two videos, one by the British Oxygen Company about general anaesthesia for Caesarean Section, and one made on his home cine camera showing Jim Hamer Hodges anaesthetising children, both videos having been shot at Portsmouth. Mary recognised and confirmed that one of the boys in the home cine camera film was in fact her older brother Peter, and remembered the family discussions at home about him helping as an actor for the film!

    These were the attendees according to my recollection:
    Robert Palmer

    Simon Larson, Claire, Helga and her husband Jay, Chris and Carol Linton, Ian Sutherland, Jo Shannon, Elaine McMurragh, Jane Watt Smith, Jeya, Pete Rogers, Hector Arthur, David Desgrand, Arun Acharya, Kanchu Chada, Elisabeth King, Carol Morton Mason, Robert, John and Valerie Palmer, Gary Smith, Bruce Taylor, Peter McQuillan, Matt Williams, Nick Tarney, Phil Young, John Knighton, Sean Elliott, Elsbeth Dyson, James Eldridge, Debbie Matthews, Kate Pounder, Mark Mourtaboys, Hayley and Chloe, Di Scott, Mike Jackson, John Burden, Kate Blethan, Mrdulah Ghurye, Sally Kelway, Sharon Holland, Phil Young, Stefan Radauceanu, Paul Sadler, James Vincent, Sean Kerr, Dave Pogson.

    The public can visit the Museum, but would need to phone 02392 286298 to ask permission

    The address of the Museum is:
    Anaesthetic Museum, Seminar room, Anaesthetic Department, E level,
    Queen Alexandra hospital Cosham, Portsmouth, Hampshire P06 3LY England

201. Anaesthetic Museum
501 Robert Palmer
502 Peter McQuillan, Bruce Taylor, Gordon Craig, Gary Smith
503 Chris Linton and wife Carol
504 Carol Morton Mason and Elisabeth King
505 Ian Sutherland, Joe Shannon
506 Kanchu Chada, Elaine McMurragh
507 John Palmer, Robert Palmer
508 Robert Palmer, John Palmer, Valerie Palmer
509 Clair, Simon and Helga Larson (cutting the ribbon).
510 Mary Hamar Hodges
511 Jane Watt-Smith
531 Helga Larson presenting print to Sharon Holland
517 Presentation, Robert Palmer speaking
518 Presentation
520 James Eldridge talking about Mike Tunstall
525 Presentation
526 Simon Larson speaking

Conceived, written and copyright © 2012, Robert Palmer, All Rights Reserved.

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, and hand-coded 2013 by John Palmer, .