CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/293
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date27 April 1919
Extent2 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Valence, to her relatives, regarding end in sight; closure of all hospitals in school premises to allow for repairs before the school year begins; rapid evacuations will now take place; others will go home to the main hospital of their Région; this requires copious administration; the few who cannot be transferred will go to the Hôpital Général, where many are also leaving and civilians are being admitted; most of her patients will soon be ready to go; she has made cork soles for those with shortened legs, and tomorrow she is to give instructions to a shoemaker to make a leather leg and tongue for a cork stump; her work has been very interesting; case of Guérin, paralysed 'like Mrs. Mattoli'; it was thought to be hypochondria, but Amelia noticed that the motor nervous power was decreasing and the turn of the head showed weakness; she was not sure massage would do any good, though it was ordered; he could only manage speech and digestion; he seems to be improving now, and can jiggle his legs and swing them out of bed; he is now to go to Lyon for electrical treatment; he himself is convinced that he is improving, which helps; Mahieu, the patient on whom she practised suggestion, has walked to the annexe to visit her, a remarkable achievement; case of 'an aviator in the marine. He fell 500m. on his first flight. By a superhuman effort he extinguished part of the flames of the motor on fire and comrades who came to extricate him did the rest, but the petrol continued to burn underneath his puttees. The half of his body was covered with blisters and the leg burnt to the third degree. A Kirsch graft was performed and 40 little bits of skin from his other thigh were placed on the calf of his burnt leg. He refused an anaesthetic, preferring to have "one pain instead of two after the operation", as he expressed it, but by the end of the time he confessed he "had had enough of snipping skin off one thigh to make a chess-board on his other leg"'; the doctors told him to enter the auxiliary service, but he returned to aviation and flew hydroplanes, chasing submarines in the Adriatic and Mediterranean, flying from Taranto to Greece and the Aegean; description of him; he speaks well of the sister-in-law of King Albert, nursing in Paris and beloved by the patients; because his wound has healed and the calf is increasing with exercise, the original graft is now tight; he must avoid phlebitis, as an operation would return the conditions to what they were before; case of a man with the ligaments of the elbow destroyed; Dr. Rigal's superior forbade amputation and recommended hot baths and massage, and now there is some nerve response in the fingers; she has been at three operations this week, by Soeur St. Paulin's permission, even helping with the anaesthetic when Soeur Augustin was ill. [Letter breaks off without signature]
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