Churchill’s doctor prescribed him indefinite amount of alcohol after car crash
The note, dated January 26, 1932, is written by Doctor Otto Pickhart, certifying that Churchill could consume alcohol. He even notes a “minimum” amount for the soon-to-be Prime Minister.
Doctor Pickhart wrote: “This is to certify that the post-accident convalescence of the Hon. Winston S. Churchill necessitates the use of alcoholic spirits especially at meal times.
“The quantity is naturally indefinite, but the minimum requirements would be 250 cubic centimetres.” 250 cubic centimetres is the equivalent of around 250 millilitres of alcohol.
The alcohol was to treat the pain Churchill was suffering from after hitting a car. According to the International Churchill Society, he was hit by a car after looking the wrong way whilst trying to cross Fifth Avenue.
Whilst in hospital, Churchill reportedly began dictating whilst his bodyguard took measures to ensure his privacy.
Churchill carried on working despite his injuries as he was trying to finish an article titled, “My New York Misadventure” which he later sold for $2,500 to the Daily Mail.
The article in question lays out Churchill’s fears about a subject people tend to avoid, but which we all must face, death.
Churchill said: “There is no room for remorse or fears. If at any moment in this long series of sensations a grey veil deepening into blackness had descended upon the sanctum, I should have felt or feared nothing additional.”
He added: “Nature is merciful and does not try her children, man or beast, beyond their compass…For the rest – live dangerously; take things as they come; dread naught, all will be well.” As well as writing his opinions on death, Churchill goes into detail about how the accident occurred.
He said: “In England, we frequently cross roads along which fast traffic is moving in both directions. I did not think the task I set myself now either difficult or rash. But at this moment habit played me a deadly trick. I no sooner got out of the cab somewhere about the middle of the road and told the driver to wait than I instinctively turned my eyes to the left.
“About 200 yards away were the yellow headlights of an approaching car. I thought I had just time to cross the road before it arrived; and I started to do so in the prepossession—wholly unwarranted— that my only dangers were from the left.
“The yellow-lighted car drew near and I increased my pace towards the pavement, perhaps twenty feet away. Suddenly upon my right, I was aware of something utterly unexpected and boding mortal peril. I turned my head sharply.”
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He added: “Right upon me, scarcely its own length away, was what seemed a long dark car rushing forward at full speed. There was one moment—I cannot measure it in time—of a world aglare, of a man aghast. I certainly thought quickly enough to achieve the idea, “I am going to be run down and probably killed.” Then came the blow.”
According to Yahoo News, Churchill sustained fractured ribs and nose in the accident along with a contusion to the head. The car which hit him was allegedly travelling at 35 miles per hour, had it been going any faster history could have been very different.
What is remarkable is not only Churchill’s survival from the potentially fatal accident but the fact that he was able to circumvent New York City’s prohibition rules.
Prohibition wouldn’t be lifted in the city until December 5, 1933, nearly two years after Churchill’s accident.
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