Ronald was an experienced surgeon, who had worked in London’s East End and in the terrible conditions of the Somme during the First World War, but when he arrived in Dartmouth in 1920, newly-wed and looking for a fresh start as a GP, he found himself facing some unexpected challenges. Not only were local villagers unimpressed by the young doctor’s new-fangled ways, but he would need all his wits, as well as his medical skills, to deal with the cases that came through his surgery door each day.
Whether it was a grumpy old farmer, a manic dentist or a midwife convinced she had been haunted, Ronald helped his patients as best he could, from premature births and the ever-prevalent TB to attempted suicides. In a world without antibiotics, where there was no cure for many common diseases, life was unpredictable. For Ronald too, there were times of personal tragedy as well as great joy as he practised through the depression and the Second World War.
Written with warmth and humour, and full of eccentric characters, Call the Doctor movingly evokes a bygone age.
Call The Doctor is a remarkable first hand insight into the life of GP/Surgeon Ronald White-Cooper.
The story is told using his journals and stories that he shared with his family, and what makes this book extra special is the fact that Ronald’s granddaughter Deborah is the books editor.
Spanning two wars and sharing the history of the NHS, I found myself learning with every page.
I was captivated by the way the community loved and respected Ronald White-Cooper.
The truth is, I am finding this a hard book to review and that’s only because it’s one of those reads where you deserve to discover every true moment for yourself.
There’s something within the words that bring every story to life, to empathise with the cases and feel in awe of the work that was done. In one case I found myself gasping and clutching my throat in sympathy.
The pictures are a wonderful touch and allow you to see Ronald White-Cooper.
A lovely true life read, that delves into sadness, humour and a community!