Pleased to meet you…. part 2.

Kevin Donnellon
13 min readSep 2, 2021

part 1 is here: https://medium.com/@kevindonnellon/pleased-to-meet-you-let-me-tell-you-a-bit-about-myself-4748978a2819

In my first ever posting on here I quoted a section from this book by Dr. Martin Johnson [former Director of The Thalidomide Trust, UK] et al:

In his book Martin Johnson wrote: “One doctor recalled seeing the midwife, out of sight of the mother, push a four-limb damaged baby, who was in a small box and not breathing, underneath the delivery bed.
The doctor inadvertently kicked the box with his foot, and the baby started crying and survives to this day. The shame of being party to this stayed with that doctor until his dying days.
The baby in the box was Kevin Donnellon, who went on to achieve an education to postgraduate level, become a university lecturer, a campaigner against cruise missiles and a father.”

I should have added that I was totally unaware of this story until just before the book was published [early 2018] when Dr Johnson asked my permission to include it. I was shocked — my mother had never mentioned this dramatic episode. But that was hardly surprising as she was totally ‘out of it’ during my difficult birth as she was hemorrhaging and was therefore never aware of this. The doctor referred to by Johnson eventually became a professor and somewhat of an expert in Thalidomide. When he died Martin Johnson was given access to his diaries and archives to help him research his book. Martin doesn’t name him in that chapter in his book, so I won’t here.

I had as a working title [one of many] for my autobiography “Out of the box” but I thought it a bit naff, plus it was an event that I had only just heard about so it never impacted my life in any way. I did briefly think of what might have been had the doctor not inadvertently kicked the box. I might have been just another static in the many, many instances of thalidomiders dying at birth or just after. The true figure is unknown and deliberate infanticide of disabled babies wasn’t uncommon even in our wonderful NHS in those days [I’ll discuss this more thoroughly in another posting soon].

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Kevin Donnellon

father, husband, socialist, atheist, humanist, Evertonian, disabled, contrarian. kevindonnellon.com