Former Ipswich man Errol Miller spent time in Ipswich Hospital in 1950 with Scarlet Fever and nearly died.
Former Ipswich man Errol Miller spent time in Ipswich Hospital in 1950 with Scarlet Fever and nearly died. Contributed

Quest for a special reunion

IT WAS only a childish prank but it almost killed Errol Miller.

As he lay in Ipswich Hospital's isolation ward, doctors gently told his mum her boy probably wouldn't make it.

But he did and now 62 years later his heart yearns to dream the impossible dream and find the nurses who saved his life.

"I meant to do it many, many moons ago and I didn't want to regret not trying," Mr Miller said.

"Maybe I've left it too late but hopefully I can track the nurses down. They obviously took very good care of me; I'd just like to repay me them with a thank you or maybe a hug."

When he was growing up in Ipswich at the start of the 1950s, Errol Miller and his parents lived in Russell St, Silkstone.

It was a dirt road then and on the other side of the road was a deep, open drain.

The water in the drain was green, slimy and putrid.

"One day all of us five-year-olds were just standing looking at the drain when one of the kids pushed me in," Mr Miller recalled.

"Mum told me I came up covered in all this slime. When I went back home she said she'd never seen anything like it.

"She took me into the backyard, stripped me off and hosed me all the way down. After three or four hose-downs, she got it all off."

Errol came down with Scarlet Fever which killed millions of people around the world in the 1950s, especially children.

"They put me into Ipswich General Hospital, what they called the isolation ward. It's still there today, an old building they don't use any more - the infectious diseases ward," Mr Miller said.

"What's stuck in my memory is that it was the dingiest, darkest place you could ever imagine.

"Mum told me the doctors pulled her aside and said: 'You've got one very sick boy here. We don't think he's going to make this'. I was an only child and she was being told to brace herself, you know, 'He ain't coming out of here' but I did.

"I think I was in there two months and mum used to ride her pushbike from Russell St Silkstone to the general hospital every day. She'd go to the fence and call out to the nurses and they'd wheel me out in a little chair and I'd sit there and she'd wave to me and talk to me."

Being only five, his memories are hazy but the thoughts of those nurses burns brightly.

"There were four nurses but one in particular who cared for me - Nurse Greener," Mr Miller said.

The other nurses' names were Johnston, Zischke and Dudge, he said, but he remembers Nurse Greener took special care of him, took photos of him and wrote a caring letter after he was released.

"The letter is something I've treasured all these years," he said.

Errol Miller left Ipswich in 1961 after getting a State Government cadetship to be a surveyor.

He later moved into property valuation and after 40 years with the Main Roads Department, he retired to Redcliffe.

If you can help Errol, call him on 3284 5601 or email errol.miller@bigpond.com.



Drunk backpacker thought she could drive

premium_icon Drunk backpacker thought she could drive

Reversing out of carpark the move that brought English tourist undone

Wildlife warriors as busy as ever 25 years on

premium_icon Wildlife warriors as busy as ever 25 years on

'This was what I was put on this earth for'.

Donation boost in form of water, clothes for charity

premium_icon Donation boost in form of water, clothes for charity

Ipswich charity makes up about 23,000 food parcels a year