Additional Staffing

Posted By on February 14, 2010

Over the last few weeks, I have been busy with the treatment of the men in winter quarters.  Great scores of snow have blanketed the land, preventing us from getting fresh meat and other provisions by hunting or by supply trains.  The air inside the fort has been very stuffy, which has also, I feel, attributed to the men’s fading constitutions.  We have lost 4 men to differing illnesses, and the numbers of those ailing grows by the day.  Scurvy, and cholera morbus seem to be some of the greatest of my challenges, however my greatest challenge seems to be keeping up with taking care of the daily upkeep.

I have been most fortunate to have the help of a woman from a nearby farm to keep dressings, medicines, and food about the infirm.  Her husband recently enlisted, and Natives had raided her farm, leaving little behind for her to subsist on.  So she has followed her husband here, and has been assisting me in the daily upkeep of running the small infirmary I am tasked with.  She has been a welcome addition, even though I feel as if I must keep a wary eye upon her.  I have heard from other Doctors at some of the out hospitals, and through my own experience at the hospital in Cumberland, that the Nurses there would provide liquors and spirits to the men against the advise of the surgeons or physicians,  as well as rifling through the effects of those men in the most dire of situations, or worse, dead, to either provide additional effects to their own husbands, or to sell them to make additional money.  They also seem unreliable in their daily duties, and many of the women given to the surgeons such a duty have also been known to despise the task.

The advantage to me at this time is that the woman who has been helping me has recently been tasked as the local Midwife to the farmers in this region.  She has some experience with the local herbs of the area, as well as an understanding of how to keep the men’s spirits and health in the best shape as we possibly can.  She has been a great assistant.

This is why today I have asked an audience with the Captain, to provide her a small stipend of 3 shillings daily for her services.  It seems only fair and proper, as she has spent many a night, sitting with some of the most ill men, and even myself, especially in the direst of situations.  She has also survived the Smallpox, so she may be of great import if an outbreak does occur here at the Fort.  I imagine that come spring, she will return to her Farm to attempt to subsist on that, however with her husband on the march, it is possible she may stay behind to make the small bit of money I can provide her.  The Captain has agreed to such a provision, on the condition that she keep to her duties, and be subject to Court Martial like any other member of the regiment, should she disobey my orders or be found in violation of any regulations.  The woman has been around the regiment and fort for several months now, so I doubt that she shall do so, however as stated previously, I have been keeping a wary eye upon her to ensure her obedience.

She is calling for me now to check on one of the patients, and so I must end this for now.  I will most definitely keep track of her progress, as I am to report to the Captain on such regularly.

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