Thank you RNTNEH! 

13/04/2018 00:00 
When Basil Walker visited the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital recently things looked very different – the last time he was at the Gray’s Inn Road hospital was more than 80 years ago.

Now 90, Mr Walker has vivid memories of being treated at the Central London Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital, as it was then, as a nine-year-old schoolboy.

His appointment card from 1936 – the year that Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, the Spanish Civil War begun and Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics – records that he was under the care of a Mr Harold Kisch.

Mr Walker’s son Grant said: “My father was diagnosed with inflammation of the mastoid, a delicate bone behind the ear, and as antibiotics were not yet invented, he was operated on.

“He recalls that he was placed on the adult ward, as there were no children’s wards at the time.

“All the doctors had old-fashioned ENT examination lights and he remembers the outpatients’ department as being very dark and mainly green in colour.”

Mr Walker, who has severe hearing loss, went on to become a pattern cutter for a well-known ladies’ suit and coat manufacturer and, earlier this month, celebrated his 63rd wedding anniversary with his wife Beryl.

He kept his 1936 appointment card with other memorabilia, including a service medal from the British Red Cross, and recently returned to the Gray’s Inn Road hospital for an operation.

Now known as the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH), it is part of UCLH and the UK’s  largest ear, nose and throat hospital.  It is also the UK and Europe's centre for audiological medicine and research.

Grant said that surgeon Sherif Khalil and his team had been “absolutely wonderful”.

He added: “Both my parents have endured numerous medical conditions over the years but they have faced them with such stoicism that they remain an inspiration to all the family.”

Mr Khalil said that Mr Walker’s story illustrates that if someone is generally fit and healthy, age needn’t be a barrier to surgery.

He said: “Mr Walker was delighted I was able to operate on him at the age of 90 and everyone from the pre-assessment team to the anaesthetist played a part in the operation’s success.

“It was an absolute pleasure to look after him.”

  • The RNTNEH, along with the Eastman Dental Hospital, is moving to Huntley Street next year. Find out how you can support our new facility here.


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