Looking Back: Dr Ted Blomfield

Poor conditions: The old Bega Hospital was so poorly equipped, Sister Crawford (pictured) was forced to look after premature babies in cardboard boxes.
Poor conditions: The old Bega Hospital was so poorly equipped, Sister Crawford (pictured) was forced to look after premature babies in cardboard boxes.

CONTINUING the story of Dr Ted Blomfield.  He is now practising at the Old Bega Hospital which was in a very bad state.

By the early 1950s moves were made for a new hospital as the old one was deteriorating badly.

Dr Ted was made very aware of this when in 1953: “I went into the  office to see telephonist Jill Stafford for something when the phone rang. She went to answer it and fell waist deep through the rotten, white ant-eaten floor to the earth below. Jill was a bit surprised but stretched  right up from the ground to answer the phone.”

“The old hospital was run down to the point where staff  left and could not be replaced.

“There were no funds for new equipment and the story of putting new born babies in cardboard boxes is quite true,” Dr Blomfield said.

“Two premature babies were born about three months apart in 1952. Both were so tiny they were not expected to live.

“There were no cribs and no money and Sister Crawford wrapped the babies in cotton wool and put them in cardboard beer boxes. She slept beside them and loved them.

“The first was a little boy, Baby Turnbull,  who grew up to be a front-row footballer. The second was a little girl, Baby Twyford, who was eight weeks’ premature and weighed only 2lb 10oz.

“When Alwyn Twyford's baby decided to be born two months early, her husband Noel was away in the Army doing compulsory National Service training.

“The little girl [Rosalie] arrived at 1pm, June 17, 1952, and Sister Crawford  wrapped the tiny bundle in cotton wool and placed her in a cardboard beer box.

“Rosalie's plight made it to the city newspaper. A week later the Royal Hospital for Women at Camperdown supplied a humidicrib at a cost of $265, which was flown down and into which baby Rosalie was transferred from her beer box.

“Sister Crawford's constant vigilance was rewarded when Rosalie went home on  August 24, but she was not strong enough to hold a bottle until she was 14 months old.”

Despite her early setback, Rosalie became Mrs John Coman and Dr Ted delivered her three healthy children.

More next week.