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Roald Dahl, Medical Innovator

When we think of Roald Dahl, we immediately turn to his writing achievements. He was a profound author and illustrator that made our childhood come alive with different characters and tales. What many people don’t know, however, is that he also saved lives.

In 1965, Dahl’s wife, Patricia Neal, had a brain haemorrhage that almost killed her. She became paralyzed. Patricia’s recovery included her making up words when she couldn’t remember what something was called. Much of this experience inspired Dahl to make up words of his own for his novels like, The BFG.  

The Guardian writes that Dahl, with the help of professionals and neighbors, provided “an intensive six-hours-a-day regime” to coach his wife back to health. He co-wrote a guide on strokes with a neighbor, and Patricia resumed her acting career and was nominated for another Oscar. 

Years later, Dahl’s son, Theo, contracted developed hydrocephalus after being struck by a taxi and later, his daughter Olivia died from measles. Dahl and a friend invented a valve to relieve water in the brain. This valve “was used to treat thousands of children around the world.” Roald Dahl might have been an amazing novelist, but he was also a pioneer for medical advancements. He was also an advocate for the measles vaccination.  

 

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