The writer of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also helped invent a life-saving device for kids with brain trauma!
Roald Dahl is known for being an accomplished children's author. He has written classics like James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, the BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While these may be light-hearted tales, Dahl's actual life was not so easy.
When Dahl's son was just four months old, he was hit by a taxi in New York City and suffered a serious brain injury. The boy developed secondary hydrocephalus and had to have a shunt implanted. The family moved back to the UK, and the shunt helped temporarily. However, it kept getting clogged with debris.
Dahl was determined to fix this problem. He contacted a toymaker named Stanley Wade and together, they began working on a device. Dahl's son's doctor, Kenneth Till, invited them into the operating room to observe how the shunts were used. Dahl and Wade invented an introducer device for the ventricular catheter and a valve to treat hydrocephalus in young children.
The valve, which was named the Wade-Dahl-Till Valve went into production in 1962. It's estimated that it helped 2,000 – 3,000 children.