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.
A talk by Dr Elizabeth Harford
The program is suitable for ages 16+
Liverpool Regional Museum
Saturday 21st October