Casula Library will be closed from Sunday 5 May for an air-conditioning upgrade. We will reopen on Monday 24 June.

The Impact of Motor Vehicles on the work of Casualty Departments 1920s and 1930s

Saturday, 04 November 2023 | 11am - 12:30pm | Liverpool | General

Motor cars were introduced into Australia in 1900 and by 1920 the motor vehicle ownership in NSW increased from 28,655 to 170,039 by 1929 – a six-fold increase. Whilst there was a slight decline due to the Great Depression, the rate of ownership continued its upward trajectory. Unfortunately, this increase in cars was matched with an increase in accidents, injuries and deaths related to motor vehicles.   The design of cars and the lack of safety features, as well as the condition of roads are briefly discussed as well as the nascence of safety campaigns and traffic regulations.

The vast increase in hospital admissions and how they were initially treated in the Casualty is described. The nature of car accidents resulted in severely injured patients being brought to the hospital at any hour of the day or night. No longer was casualty work “routine” or predictable. The response to this situation resulted in an increased medical and nursing presence in Casualty and ultimately required more senior staff. Many of the learnings from World War One had not been introduced into civilian medical and nursing practice. With the number and severity of injuries from motor vehicle crashes resembling those of warfare, many advances such as the treatment of shock, blood transfusion, earlier diagnosis using X-Ray and orthopaedic surgery were revisited.

Brief Bio Dr Elizabeth Harford Qualifications: R.N.; B.Sc.(UNE); M.Clin.Nurs.(USyd); Grad Cert. H. Sci.(Management)(USyd); Ph.D.(USyd); Cert. A&E(NSWCofN); Cert. Trauma (Westmead Hospital).

Research Focus: Currently engaged in private research into Casualty and Emergency nursing and medical clinical treatment from 1940 to 1970; the rise of medical and nursing specialties in Australia. PhD Thesis Title: Blood Antiseptic and Stale Beer: History of Casualty Department & Casualty Nursing in Sydney 1870 -1939. Awarded 2002 University of Sydney.

Forty-two years’ experience in Nursing and concurrently over twenty-five years in hospital management in public sector healthcare, majority of which has been with NSW Health.

The program is suitable for ages 16+

Liverpool Regional Museum

Saturday 4th November

11.00am - 12.30 pm


Event Details

Saturday, 04 November 2023
11am - 12:30pm

Add to calendar



Similar event