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Image of the week: woman-run X-ray department, 1934


The above photograph shows the X-ray department (control board, dosimeters, and windows for viewing patients and instruments) at the Marie Curie Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases in 1934, the year Curie died.
The hospital - "founded by medical women. . .for the radiological treatment of women suffering from cancer and allied diseases" - opened to patients on Sept. 16, 1929, according to a 1968 British Medical Journal article (.pdf) by Robert Dickson:

By the outbreak of the second world war the hospital was treating some 700 inpatients annually in 39 beds, with facilities for radium and X-ray therapy, hostel accommodations for out-of-twon patients, and up-to-date pathological and research laboratories...

But on Valentine's Day, 1944, the main buildings were obliterated by a bombing, "fortunately without injury to patients or staff," and the hospital moved to a temporary location and then, in 1967, to new facilities in the Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood, London.

In the hospital's first four decades, its female staff treated 8,150 patients for malignant disease. Dickson wrote:

By comparison with figures published from other hospitals, it was apparent that in the early years of radium therapy in [Britain] the staff of the Marie Curie Hospital were as successful as any other institution, and tributes were heaped on them by many eminent medical men...

This image is No. 6 of 8 in a series showing the evolution of medical instruments over time. The images are presented in collaboration with the London-based Wellcome Trust, whose library features visual collections with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science.

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