Nightingale, Florence (1820-1910) Autograph Letter Signed, 23 August 1887. Single laid bifolium with Nightingale's 10 South Street, Park Lane W. address printed at the top, inscribed over all four pages to the Medical Officer at the Western Dispensary, regarding her charwoman, Mrs. Birchall, who had an injurious fall eight or nine weeks earlier, and whose care has been hard to follow; Nightingale is interceding to advocate for her employee, and railing against boots with dangerous "high heels"; some toning to outer sheet, old folds, 9 3/4 x 8 in.
"Sir, Pardon me a stranger to you for trespassing on your time. It is on behalf of my Charwoman, Mrs. Birchall, of 64 Boston Place, who 8 or 9 weeks ago fell in the street & severely injured her left shoulder & arm, & has been ever since a Patient at your valuable Dispensary. It seems a very tedious case; and lately she tells us that a 'fracture' was discovered, & she had to undergo an 'operation.' It is difficult to understand her own account of her case, and as I have been doing & am anxious to do all I can for her & venture to hope that you will be so very good as to tell me -how the care really stands now, -what prospect there is of her regaining the use of the arm, -if any, when? -would you recommend her going into a Hospital even now? and any particulars or information that you would have the great kindness to give me I should be thankful for.
Perhaps it may be useful to others if I tell you the way in which the accident happened. She had Sciatica but had perfectly recovered under Medical & other treatment & had been given money to buy a good pair of boots-- on condition that they were to have no high heels; or if they had, these were to be removed before using them. The condition was not observed. She had not returned to work but went out & in running after an Omnibus in these destructive new boots fell & thus disabled herself. Medical gentlemen are (kindly) strong in their disapproval of these dreadful high heels. Perhaps this instructive incident -one of many- might render them still stronger.
Pray pardon me & kindly give me some information about this poor old Charwoman, & oblige. Sir, Yours faithfully, Florence Nightingale
I am at this moment away from home, but letters will be forwarded to me. F.N.
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