DOCTORS INGENIOUS IN HONG KONG CAMP
From REG HARRIS, Courier-Mail Correspondent.
HONG KONG, Sept. 7. — A major operation performed at the Stanley internment camp hospital here while the Japs were in control was a masterpiece, of medical ingenuity.
Professor K. H. Digby, former professor of surgery at Hong Kong University, performed the operation on Mr. Bill Ahearn, a sugar chemist, whose father, Mr. Denis Ahearn, lives at Ayr (Queensland).
Professor K. H. Digby, former professor of surgery at Hong Kong University, performed the operation in the dingy theatre with improvised lighting. A mud wall was built outside the window of the theatre, and the mud was smoothed and highly polished until it reflected the sun's rays into the theatre. After making a nine-inch abdominal incision, Professor Digby got another doctor to stand, over the patient, holding a polished sheet of tin. The tin reflected the sunshine from the mud wall on to the abdomen. Ahearn was on the table for four and three-quarter hours, the first three and a half hours
with a spinal and local anaes- thetic and the rest with chloro- form. Another doctor performed a similar operation on another patient under similar conditions. The Japs, although they had it, refused to provide medical equipment for these and other operations, and old rags had to be used as dressings. The camp hospital got some drugs from the International Red Cross, but none from the Japs. The doctors made medicine for dysentery from a clay they found in the camp area. They also made a medicine from the lagging (asbestos) from the camp boilers.