My photo today is of a commemorative, stained-glass plaque that greets patients at my specialist hospital, St Mark’s, with a warm reminder of the hospital’s extraordinary history.
I had a clinic appointment today with my consultant and IBD Nurse Specialist. I have a pretty complicated case of systemic Crohn’s Disease! On the bright side, they were also consulting me about an installation of some of my photography when the outpatient department gets a makeover in about three months time 🙂 Great to be giving something back.
The beginnings of St Mark’s Hospital were in a small room at No 11 Aldersgate Street where, in 1835, Frederick Salmon opened ‘The Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor afflicted with Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum’.
After the number of patients trebled, Salmon moved to larger premises in Charterhouse Square. From there a site in City Road was purchased and was opened on St Mark’s Day, 25 April 1854, and took the name of St Mark’s Hospital for Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum.
One famous benefactor was Charles Dickens, who blamed his need for Salmon’s surgical attentions on ‘too much sitting at my desk’! St Mark’s was unique in not employing a physician until 1948. That all changed with the arrival of Francis Avery-Jones, “the father of British gastroenterology”.
The hospital expanded as much as it could at the City Road site until in 1995 it became a part of the North West London NHS trust and moved to the same site as Northwick Park Hospital (Harrow). The hospital maintains strong teaching ties with Imperial College School of Medicine.
St Mark’s is the only hospital in the world to specialise entirely in intestinal and colorectal medicine and is a national and international referral centre for intestinal and colorectal disorders. It prides itself on a multidisciplinary approach to individual patients and combines both medical and surgical expertise with specialist nursing and paramedical skills.
I might not be here now if it hadn’t been for the research and skills of St Mark’s medical staff! Not all research, education, training and other vital developments are paid for by the NHS so St Marks still relies on charitable funds generated by The St Mark’s Hospital Foundation.
Please visit the St Mark’s Hospital and Foundation websites, as well as Crohn’s and Colitis UK, for more information.