Susanna Phillips, great grandmother of Fiona McManus and Anne O’Hagan, was one of Joseph Lister’s patients. Fiona and Anne contacted Friends of GRI and have kindly allowed us to share their great grandmother’s story. Fiona herself was a student nurse in 1968 and recalls working in the theatres in the former Western Infirmary A block. She remembers the wooden walls and creaky balcony with wooden seats overlooking the theatre table not dissimilar to the setting in which Lister worked, across the city, around a century before.
Aged 20 years Susanna, known as Anne, had an accident at work in the Strathblane Print Works; her arm was caught in rollers. She was taken to GRI by horse and cart and was admitted to Lister’s ward in 1861/2. Her arm was amputated above the elbow. Anne’s father walked from Strathblane to the hospital every Sunday to visit his daughter. He described taking off his boots at the ward door and the floor being scrubbed clean. Anne survived until she was 86 years old. She married and had four children, two of whom survived into old age. The family are convinced that Anne would not have survived the accident if she had not been taken to the Lister ward.