|Administrative history||The Radiotherapy Department developed out of the Hospital's Electrical Department, also known as the X-Ray Department, which was established in 1896. The X-Ray Department was located from 1897 in a tin hut in the hospital garden, until in 1903 it was transferred to a part of the new Outpatient Department. The department was divided into two parts - Dr James H. Sequeira was in charge of Finsen lights, which produced ultraviolet light, for the treatment of skin conditions such as rodent ulcers [basal cell carcinoma], ringworm, and lupus vulgaris [tuberculosis of the skin]. Sequeira, who had worked in Vienna with Professors Schiff and Freund, carried out radiotherapy on a patient suffering from rodent ulcer in the department in 1900 and published results of 12 similar cases in 1901 (see Hope-Stone, HF: A history of radiotherapy at the London Hospital 1896-1996, RLHREF/881). |
The second part of the department was used for x-rays for diagnostic purposes and treatment of conditions other than those of the skin, where Ernest Harnack, Reginald Blackall and Harold Suggars worked. Until 1908 radiographers x-rayed their own hands every time the machinery was used to check that the x-ray tube was working, and all three men later required amputation of their hands for radiation induced tumours. They later became known as the 'X-ray martyrs'.
Until 1943 the X-Ray Department included both radiodiagnosis and radiotherapy; at this date the work split into two separate departments.