Louisa Garrett Anderson to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Scope and Content

Undated, possibly 13 Oct 1914. Written from the Hôpital Auxiliaire, Hôtel Claridge, Paris. Transcript:

Dearest Mother

Thank you very much for a nice letter which reached me today and also for stamps enclosed in it. The posts are still very uncertain so we get our letters taken to England by hand. Tomorrow morning several convalescent officers will be leaving and will take letters for us.

We have received our X Ray apparatus from London today and some instruments and other things: all very welcome. We are going to get expert help over their installation tomorrow. We are very busy here and are feeling our work well worthwhile in spite of great disappointments over individual cases. A very nice Scotchman has died today. He came in a fortnight ago with a bad scalp wound - but he was convalescent, up and helping the nurses and practically well - and then he developed tetanus. Nearly all those cases die. It is dreadful. We mean to use the anti-tetanic injections in every case on admission as a prophylactic as there is no way of guessing what cases are infected and what are not. I think we may get a gift of serum for this purpose, otherwise the expense will be great. Apparently it is almost unknown to save a patient after the symptoms have developed. We have injected the spinal canal and have had temporary improvement but always death in the end. It is grievous. A nice boy came in 2 days ago with a septic amputated foot. I amputated high up and I hope he will live. He comes from Ipswich. I thought that perhaps Ivy would call and see his people if she happens to be motoring from London to Aldeburgh. I am writing to his brother. The address is Mrs Warren, 39 Four Hamlet, Ipswich.

I went to see the American Ambulance Hospital today. It is a perfectly gorgeous place. A big new building intended for a girls school has made an ideal Hospital. They have beautiful big airy wards: magnificent sterilization and X Ray arrangements and indeed everything that money and brains can supply. It ought to revolutionise French Hospitals to have such a place as that in Paris.

Dr Murray and I felt very proud that Sir Henry Norman put Claridge's 2nd after the American Ambulance Hospital: and Colonel Stone who is the British Military inspector of the Auxiliary Hospitals in which English wounded are treated put us first. (I imagine not counting the American Ambulance Hospital!)

I have had nice letters from both my maids Annie and Eliza and from Miss Burdett and Ivy telling me that things are going smoothly at the Children's Hospital.

It is really a great test to me to be here. We are working hard and the cases are bad and the kind of surgery required is new and responsible, but it is going well and it is nice to be able to give one's whole mind to this work. There is no telephone: and no business letters in the morning: in fact there are no other claims. Then everyone is frightfully kind to us and it is an immense joy to have the chance of helping a little bit. Paris is more beautiful than usual. It is so empty and dark and so quiet and the crowds in the streets are so sympathetic. Old women come up to me whenever I go out and press 5fr into my hand or pat it and thank me, and it is very touching.

With much love