Addenbrooke’s first Intensive Care Unit

The original Intensive Care Unit, which was one of the earliest in the UK, was set up by Dr Leslie Cole, the senior physician, and Dr Harold Youngman, the senior anaesthetist; Sister Pat Mountford was in charge.

Dr Jean Horton wrote, in an article from the 1992 the History of Anaesthesia Society’s Proceedings that in late 1959 Dr Harold Youngman, Senior Anaesthetist and the Matron Miss Puddicombe wrote to the Chairman of the Medical Committee about the problems of nursing patients needing intensive care.

The Blue Room 001
The Blue Room

They said that during 1959 there had been 21 patients requiring intensive treatments and there was never less than 3 and sometimes as many as 6 needing care at the same time.  The patients were in different wards and each patient required 6 nurses per week to carry out the specialised techniques, but if they could be nurses together this number could be halved.

The Blue room 2 001

The Medical Committee recommended the conversion of a room formerly used as the Matron’s’ Office and two side rooms for the first intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s.  It was later to be become known as ‘The Blue Room’ because of the colour of the wall paper!!


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