Medical memories are the perfect tonic
Dr Owen Gallagher
at the recent launch of his new book
with Lisburn Mayor, Councillor James
A SPOONFUL of memories is set to provide
local people with the perfect tonic as a well known Glenavy GP
launches the latest volume of his medical memoirs.
Small Dose of Medicine' by Dr. Owen Gallagher is dedicated to
the memory of his father John Patrick who was also a well known
GP in the area.
Writing under the nom de plume James Griffin
it tells of his experiences as a country doctor in the village
of 'Clonavon' in the early 1970's.
As in his previous books people's names have
been changed to protect their privacy but readers are sure to
enjoy the doctor's usual mixture of stories which are both funny
and very moving.
All human life seems to lie within its pages
and it features characters GPs will immediately recognise.
There's a devoted daughter who eventually has
to let her elderly mother be taken to hospital after nursing her
at home for many years.
She sends a three page care regime to the ward
and is regarded as a nuisance by the staff.
However, she is really motivated by a strong
combination of love and devotion to duty.
There's a local businessman who rings the
church bells in the village every Sunday. He calls at the
doctor's surgery to have a health insurance form completed and
makes it plain he has no need for further medical help - despite
the doctor's concern about a hernia which should have been dealt
with many years before.
The GP's anxiety proves justified when the
hernia becomes strangulated and the bell-ringer's screams echo
through Clonavon The village's Parish' Priest also plays a part
in the book. Dr. Gallagher first gets to know him while serving
as an altar boy in his church.
The boy, of course, becomes a man and then a
GP. The Canon is eventually forced to seek his help when the
agony of a badly infected ingrown toenail becomes too much to
There's Captain Pickering, an airline pilot
who fears one of the passengers he has just flown from Heathrow
may have Lassa Fever But what is perhaps the most touching story
concerns Hughie McStravick and his wife Nellie.
Hughie is suffering from terminal cancer. Dr.
Gallagher's description of Nellie's devotion to him during his
final hours would, as they say, 'draw tears from a stone'.
The former GP, who now works in the psychiatric field, can
see why he has been compared to James Herriott who also used a
nom de plume - the vet's real name was Alf Wight.
"Like James Herriott I found it very
difficult to get published," he said. "He ended up shoving his
manuscript into a drawer and giving up. It was his wife who came
across it a couple of years later and convinced him to try
'A Small Dose of Medicine' is published by
Lincolnshire based 'Barny Books' and costs £7.99.