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FOG – a poem by Susan Hunter Downer

Northern General Hospital, Sheffield. Photo by Terry Robinson

On a recent visit to the Heritage Site at the Northern General Hospital, part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, artist in residence, creative writer Susan Hunter Downer came across an intriguing folder full of collected stories from retired workers from the 1950’s onwards. This fascinating collection inspired Susan to write a poem about one the hospital’s first consultants. Read Susan’s poem below. 


By Susan Hunter Downer 

In memory of Frank O’Gorman (1910-1992) 

Formerly associate professor of surgery at Sheffield University and senior surgeon at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, affectionately known as FOG. 

Not droplets of water or crystals in air 

But a man who answered to the name of Fog  

And walked the Northern grounds at night 

Sowing seeds of gentleness for others to reap 

Not low-lying cloud or poor visibility 

But surgeon, teacher, (some say porter) 

Traveller, footballer, avid dog walker 

Bringing greatness to this place of blades  

Not the fading memory that comes with age   

But modesty, humour, passion, and care 

At home in scrubs, suit, trunks, and kit  

Who gave his best to the most and became 

A legend. 

A man  

who saw the earth as a second womb  

where we share a placenta of connected care, 

laugh when it hurts and know that, in the end,  

Continuity is change and we are all pioneers.