SPANISH MEDICAL AID COMMITTEE
Bulletin for May 1938
This Bulletin contains many accounts written by our nurses on different fronts in Spain. They tell their own tale of rain and hunger, work and the terror of aerial bombardment, but above it all their enthusiasm for the struggle stands out. Our job is to send them always more and more help in the form of food, ambulances and medical supplies.
Here are notes taken from the diary of one of our nurses in the field to give you a straight picture of what the work is sometimes like:
" 42 very ill patients with typhoid - lousy - we scrubbed them - so tired that cried. Finished duty at midnight after beginning at 8 a.m. No torch, fields deep in mud, kept losing way.
"Next day, 7.15-9.30. Days seem long, nights short. So tired go on blindly working as hard as possible.
"Days are beginning to be like nightmares; however, everyone is pulling his weight, so what more can we want.
"No soap, lack of food, water shortage. I am doing work for which I have always longed."
Here are notes from another nurse, written while still at work in the field:
"It has been raining for days and days. This prevents attacks. The river is rising hourly; it has reached the door of the hospital, which is only a wooden hut. Operating room and triage are divided from the wards by sheets. My office is in triage.
"We had orders to pack up and move off, but the floods have prevented the lorries from coming up. For two and a half weeks we have been in a state of package. We have scarcely any food and what there is is bad. We each keep a bit of quite mouldy bread under the pillow to nibble at night. Oh for something to put on it. We are allowed a small piece of cheese and a small piece of sausage. There is tense excitement when trading sausage for cheese begins. We have to go half a mile to the kitchen for food in the mud and the dark. As we are expecting to move we have discharged the civil personnel. I have been doing the kitchen work with the two American nurses, Esther and Irene. We also serve in the dining-room. There is very little wood round here. We can hear the guns all day. We have half a tank of drinking water left. The lorries have not yet got through the mud.
"The wards are filling with influenza cases. The other hospital has been bombed and we have orders to turn ours into an infirmary. Dr. Saxton