CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/270
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date24 November 1918
Extent4 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her relatives, regarding delay in work waiting for the doctor; request for all nurses to be present at a reception at the house of Mme. Clerc, President of the Association des Dames Françaises at Valence, to meet the American committee of the Red Cross; it might be an opportunity to volunteer for the Americans, but it might be a waste of time; the annexe is quiet at the moment but they have been warned to be ready for more patients: Lyon is to be one of the centres for receiving prisoners returned from Germany; Lyon hospitals are therefore being cleared elsewhere; there are fewer wounded coming in from the front now, and prisoners may also be sent to Valence; some of the annexe patients have been sent south to Avignon; mécano patients from Lyon have been moved to the Séminaire; departure of Mestre, Dewit and Girou; 'if the prisoners be anything like what Dubois saw at Montpellier, their treatment will mean long and careful nursing in the case of those who can still be saved. There the results of privation, followed by the agitation of the news of their freedom, was too much for the majority. They forced themselves to bear the journey, but within two months of their arrival in France, out of 3,000 sent to Montpellier only 800 survived. Many were "tuberculous to the marrow" ... many had been deliberately made tuberculous'; the weaker amongst them will probably be sent further south for the climate and they will have wounded and delicate men at Valence; many were killed by kindness by being sent home to be nursed by ignorant relatives, so the authorities have probably learned their lesson and will keep them in hospitals longer now; visit of Mme. Soureillat and Vayr to the 201 to witness Traffey's hernia operation, as he was their patient; Amelia would like to have gone but has the officers to look after in the absence of Mme. Chabaud; there are only two officers left now, so it is not too onerous; treatment of Trossat, who developed a temperature along with retching, headache and a nosebleed; use of eau oxygénée, quinine, a tisane of limeflowers with rum, and a lemon drink, ventouses on the back and chest, massage of the sympathetic nerve centre, head, and upper cervical nerves, and a hot water bottle on his tummy; disagreements with Mme. Soureillat over the newcomers in the absence of the doctor; one patient has a very deep abcess which might have affected the bone; he has had two temporary plasters of Paris, neither done well because rushed; the bones have not been set, even though swelling has now gone down; Amelia wants Mme. Soureillat to tell the doctor he is needed, but she is too lethargic; there is also a fever case and she is not allowed to give a purge without permission from the doctor, so this finally persuaded Mme. Soureillat to find and bring the doctor over; she is never upset for long; on Tuesday Mme. Soureillat and the nun, Soeur Ludovic, were to be presented with the palms of the Red Cross; the patients co-operate in planning a celebration, though they feel Amelia should be receiving it, too; the officers bought a bouquet and the men laid on an entertainment; she played the piano and Liénart played a borrowed violin; she gave the nun cocoa and jam, and gave Mme. Soureillat fruit; the Red Cross reception turns out to be a social affair and a waste of time; Amelia played a little Beethoven and returned gratefully to receive more patients; visit of the doctor.
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