When Kate O’Hanlon started work at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, the people brought in to the casualty department were suffering from acute medical conditions or were victims of road traffic accidents. So when the telephone rang one evening in June 1966 with the news that there had been a shooting in Malvern Street, no one in the department could believe it.
But before long such incidents became daily occurrences – over a three-year period on 48 occasions, the department received patients with multiple injuries caused by explosions – and the hospital went on to treat more victims of the Troubles than any other hospital.
Kate spent 16 years as the nurse in charge of casualty, working through many of the darkest days of the Troubles, including the bombings of McGurk’s bar, the Abercorn and Donegall Street as well as Bloody Friday.
Told with her trademark blend of warmth, compassion and humour, this is her fascinating, frank and no-nonsense story of nursing on the front line. If you enjoyed Call the Midwife, Yes Sister, No Sister or Matron on Call, this is the perfect book for you.