Dear Dr Van …


My GORGEOUS little Mum has been trying to contact her surgeon for decades, just to thank him for saving her life back when she was a wee snapper of whips.

Today, she handed me a beautiful letter – complete with her own personal brand of “interesting” grammar. I’ve corrected her mistakes for the purposes of this blog, even though I love every last one of ’em. She wasn’t educated, you see, having been in hospital for most of her school years in the 1950s.

She missed out on so much, and yet, she has always given herself to others, often without a second thought. Kindness is like breathing to her – even though she does have a missing lung.

Please, folks – share, and share, and share. I would love this to go viral so that we might track down the surgeon whose name escapes my Mum. She calls him Dr Van something, although he may be a Mr…and if he has shuffled off this mortal coil, maybe we can find his son.

Here we go:

File 08-03-2017 19 14 12

Dear Dr Van

I have tried for years to find your full name because I often think of you. Let me explain. My name was PAT ROSSITER. While you were in Liverpool Fazakerley hospital in 1952/3, I met you and you told me your name – it was Dr Van Something… it was so long that we just called you Dr Van.

You removed half of my lung and my mother said you stayed by my bed for days until I came to, and she said the first thing I said to you was “you hurt me!” Mum was mad at me for being cheeky but you just laughed and gave me a big hug.

That Christmas I was in a side ward with a friend, and not allowed in the big ward because of infection. But when you came, you brought your son with you – and I had never seen such a lot of lovely black hair. You and your son took me into the big ward to see the Christmas tree and your son gave me a comb. You didn’t know what it meant to me to have my very own comb in the hospital – the nurses used the same comb on everyone, and at home we only had one that the whole family used. Anyway, after a few minutes, we had to go back to the side ward.

I also remember you giving me pocket money each week to buy something when I got home.

When you came to take my stitches out you put them in a little bottle and said “when you feel down and upset, just look at these stitches and think ‘I was saved’.” I didn’t know what you meant at the time, but many times in the past years, I have done that and it has helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself and just get on with life. So a big THANK YOU.

After a few more weeks in the hospital I went home, and my parents were told that I could live until I was 14 years old. I am now 74 and have a husband and three children, and five wonderful grandchildren. My eldest son is a doctor of psychology and is a senior lecturer in Manchester University, and our second son is a senior universal computer engineer, and our daughter is a writer and editor. I also know she has helped lots of people including stopping them from [committing] suicide (she couldn’t have done that if you hadn’t saved me) so THANK YOU again.

Lots of love to you and your family from Pat Rossiter. 🙂 Smile – God loves you.



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