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About This Event


Christine Hallett is Professor of Nursing History and Director of Midwifery at the University of Manchester.  She holds doctorates in Nursing and in History and is the author of Containing Trauma: Nursing Work in the First World War (2009) and Celebrating Nurses (2010).

The work of nurses in the care and the treatment of casualties of gas poisoning during the First World has been underestimated, unrecognised and under-valued.  The effects of chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas and lewisite upon those who were exposed required treatment and dressing of burns and blisters, the swabbing and treatment of chemically-damaged eyes, and the administration of oxygen and inhalants to lung-damaged patients.  It was, in effect, the total nursing care of helpless patients. The talk focuses on nursing work on the Western Front, and looks, in particular at the care offered in casualty clearing stations and base hospitals.  It draws upon the personal writings of nurses: their letters, diaries and autobiographical accounts.

A lunch will be provided.  Space is limited; please RSVP to

Part of the John Shaw Billings History of Medicine Society History of Medicine Speakers Series 2013.  Sponsored by the IU School of Nursing and the IU Student History of Medicine Organization.  Co-sponsored by the Medical Humanities & Health Studies Program.

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