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Nurse Helen Fairchild

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Geregistreerd op: 11-6-2007
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Jul 2012 8:07    Onderwerp: Nurse Helen Fairchild Reageer met quote

Helen Fairchild was born in Milton, Pennsylvania, November 21, 1884. She graduated as a nurse from Pennsylvania Hospital in 1913.

On the outbreak of the First World War President Woodrow Wilson declared a policy of strict neutrality. However, on 31st January, 1917, Germany announced a new submarine offensive against countries supplying goods to the Allies. Wilson responded by breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany.

The publication of the Zimmerman Telegram, a document that suggested that Germany was willing to help Mexico regain territory in Texas and Arizona, intensified popular opinion against the Central Powers. On 6th April, America declared war on Germany on 6th April, 1917. A few weeks later Fairchild and 63 other nurses from Pennsylvania Hospital volunteered to serve in Europe.

After arriving on the Western Front Fairchild was sent to Casualty Clearing Station No. 4 at Passchendaele on 22nd July, 1917. Exposed to mustard gas during November 1917, Fairchild began suffering from severe abdominal pains. Fairchild continued to work and it was not until just before Christmas that a Barium meal X-Ray revealed that a large gastric ulcer was obstructing her pylorus. Doctors suggested that this had probably been worse by the poisonous gases used against the Allies.

Fairchild underwent a gastro-enterostomy operation on 13th January 1918. Initially Helen Fairchild did well but on the third day she began to deteriorate and after going into a coma she died on 18th January 1918.

The Nurses' Post of the American Legion in Philadelphia was named the Helen Fairchild Nurses' Post #412 in her honor. She is registered in the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

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Geregistreerd op: 11-6-2007
Berichten: 7069

BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Jul 2012 18:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

A letter to her mother from her Casualty Clearing Station at Ypres (August 1917)

I am with an operating team about 100 miles from our own Base Hospital, closer to the fighting lines. I'll sure have a lot to tell about this experience when I get home. I have been here three weeks and see no signs of going back yet, although when we came we only expected to be here a few days. Of course, I didn't bring much with me. Had two white dresses and two aprons, and two combinations. Now can you imagine trying to keep decent with that much clothing in a place where it rains nearly every day.

We all live in tents and wade through mud to and from the operating room where we stand in mud higher than our ankles. It was some task, but dear old Major Harte, who I am up here with, got a car and a man; to go down to our hospital and get us some things. He brought me six clean uniforms and aprons, beside heaps of notes from all the nurses, letters from home and all kinds of fruit and cake.

We made the trip up to this place in an auto-ambulance 100 miles through France. Oh I shall have books to tell when I get home.

Casualty Clearing Station
Advancing troops were not allowed to stop and care for wounded soldiers. All men carried an emergency field-dressing and if possible attempted to treat their own wounds. The wounded soldier then had to wait until the stretcher-bearers arrived. Once the injured soldier had been picked up by the stretcher-bearers, he would be taken to the Regimental Aid Post that was usually based in the reserve trenches. The Regimental Medical Officer and his assistants cleaned the wounds, applied dressings, and gave injections. The injured man was then taken to the Advanced Dressing Station. Wounds were again treated and sometimes emergency amputations took place. The wounded soldier was now moved to the Casualty Clearing Station where surgery, if needed, was carried out.

What was a Casualty Clearing Stations
The Casualty Clearing Station was part of the casualty evacuation chain, further back from the front line than the Aid Posts and Field Ambulances. It was manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps, with attached Royal Engineers and men of the Army Service Corps. The job of the CCS was only to treat a man sufficiently for his return to duty or, in most cases, to enable him to be taken to a Base Hospital. It was not a place for a long-term stay.

CCS's were generally located on or near railway lines, to facilitate movement of casualties from the battlefield and on to the hospitals. Although they were quite large, CCS's moved quite frequently, especially in the wake of the great German attacks in the spring of 1918 and the victorious Allied advance in the summer and autumn of that year. Many CCS moved into Belgium and Germany with the army of occupation in 1919 too. The locations of wartime CCSs can often be identified today from the cluster of military cemeteries that surrounded them.

The CCS's in France and Flanders:
listed by CCS Number
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