Puslapio vaizdai

brains, and will be proud to wear the uniform which ex-officio grants them distinction.

But all is not perfection even at Netley; and the British public will learn with some surprise that in the opinion of the Horse Guards the military business of the Hospital, as distinct from the medical, cannot be carried on without the presence of two Colonels and one Major. This, to speak plainly, is a shameless job and an imposition on the taxpayers of the country. Mr. Childers, when First Lord of the Admiralty, dispensed with the services of Naval Captains in the great Naval Hospitals of the country; and at no time in their history have they been so effective for the purpose for which they were intended as since that measure has been carried out.

It is necessary that there should be a military officer to aid the military part of the invaliding and to take command of the “time-expired men,” so long as the bad practice of sending them to Netley obtains. For all other purposes this large military establishment answers no good end, and serves only as so much patronage in providing places for men who cannot otherwise be provided for. None of them even pretend to know anything about hospital administration, and they are not chosen under any such pretence. The principal medical officer is always a Surgeon-General, with the relative army rank of MajorGeneral. This officer has necessarily been trained from his youth upwards in military hospital administration. It often, indeed generally, happens that he comes direct from India, where he has been thought competent to administer, not only the affairs of one hospital, but all medical matters relating to an army of sixty or seventy thousand men. But when he comes to Netley, the Horse Guards think that one hospital cannot be governed without the two Colonels and the Major aforesaid. The amusing part of it is, that the principal medical officer is responsible for all the public property in the building and for every shrub in the park; and that he has the command of the Army Hospital Corps, the only soldiers not sick who should be seen in the Hospital.

As things are, however, another great and crying abuse is put in practice by the authorities. In the winter time, one-half of this great and costly building, intended as it was solely for a Hospital and the grandest school of military medicine in the kingdom, is converted into a barrack, in which “ time-expired men ” arriving from foreign stations are quartered until they are discharged into the reserve. In no other country but this dear old patchwork and compromise-loving land of ours would such an anomaly as this be allowed—namely, a barrack and a hospital in one. Time-expired

men" about to leave for the reserve, are not remarkable for high discipline; and their presence under the same roof with sick men is open to objections so obvious that it is useless even to state them. In the matter of care and cleanliness, too, the visitor has only to inspect that part of the building so used, or rather abused, to see how deteriorated, dirty and knocked about it is.

While touching on the shortcomings and defects of this great national establishment, we will give a list of those which occur to us, beginning with one of perhaps not much vital consequence.

This Hospital is, as we know, a fine imposing-looking building of red brick faced with Portland stone, standing well, and making a prominent object for miles around. About a hundred yards from the south end of the Hospital stand the officers' quarters, originally designed to correspond with the front of the main building. But for the sake of a few thousand pounds the design was changed at the eleventh hour, and, instead of being of red brick handsomely faced with stone like the rest, it is plastered over with hideous-looking cement, giving it the appearance of a workhouse that has lost its way and finally settled down, no one knows how or why, in the park of Netley Hospital.

Again, the plan of the Hospital is faulty according to modern sanitary science. It is built on the corridor system-the corridors, exactly a quarter of a mile in length, run from one extremity of the building to the other. This is an obvious defect in construction. If filled with wounded men, even with the advantage of the antiseptic treatment, it would be impossible to prevent any mischief that might arise from spreading with fatal rapidity throughout the wards of the entire building. To prevent this, it is proposed, in the event of a great war, to build up the arches of the corridors at convenient distances, so as to divide the building as much as possible into temporary blocks; and in the summer large numbers of wounded men might be treated with great advantage in tents, of which there is an ample supply. It is odd that, although the building is supplied with lifts for invalids, and the conveyance of coal and other heavy weights to the upper stories, they are never used. The fact is, their original construction was faulty and even dangerous, and the War Office authorities have never consented to have them properly repaired. It is melancholy, in a mechanical country like ours, to see the waste of time and labour entailed by defects so obvious and so easy of remedy!

Fronting the main entrance to the Hospital is a handsome tubular pier. The original intention was to carry this structure out to the edge of the deep water ; but the courage of the Government failed, and the large sum of money spent in constructing the pier to less than a third of the distance required benefited no one but the contractors.

Each ward is furnished with fine luxurious baths made of that costly material, enamelled slate. These baths have been so made that they are useless and are consequently never used. When hotwater baths are required, old-fashioned wooden tubs have to be brought to the bedside, and with great expenditure of human labour filled and afterwards emptied. En revanche, on the ground floor is a spacious swimming bath, which is filled by a small steam engine with water from the sea. This is a great comfort to the Hospital establishment In the same part of the building are vapour baths, but too far away from the wards to be of any use to the invalids. It was proposed to add a Turkish bath, but this has never got beyond the limits of good intention on the part of the authorities, although such an addition to the means of treatment would obviously be a great advantage to the sick.

A loop line from the main line of the London and South-Western Railway was constructed for the convenience of Government. The officers who were responsible for the proper carrying out of this necessary arrangement so contrived matters as to make the terminus nearly a mile distant from the Hospital, which necessitates the keeping up a detachment of the Army Service Corps, with wagons, horses, ambulance wagons, &c., to convey the sick and their baggage into the Hospital. By the exercise of a little common sense the railway might have terminated in the building itself, thus saving time, money, and much needless suffering to the sick brought from Portsmouth by rail. It is only in a British Government establishment that such absurd arrangements would be tolerated for an hour.

The Hospital was contrived for 1,080 beds, but only 1,002 can be occupied, and it is only for a few months in the year, when invalids arrive from India-that is, from the end of March to the beginning of July—that so many beds are in use for the sick.

In the winter, as we have seen, one-half are appropriated to the time-expired men.

Still, with all these defects and shortcomings, which it is only fair and reasonable to state when dealing with the subject at all, Netley Hospital is one of those establishments of which we may be justly proud, and from which we may look for more than the mere direct result of healing the sick and wounded of the army. For being, as we have said, one of the finest military medical schools in the world, the education given there has raised the status of the army medical officer to a point of absolute equality with that of the combatant

officer, so that we may now hope to see the medical branch of the service as eagerly sought after by men of family with brains and the love of science, as formerly the fighting branch was affected by those who had neither.

We know of nothing more interesting than a visit to Netley Hospital. In Southampton itself we find such points of old-world charm as Anne Boleyn's house with its embayed and sunny windows where so many a whispered drama has been enacted, its thick oak door that has opened to so many hopes and shut against so many joys ; St. Michael's Church, where Philip of Spain gave thanks to God for the safe passage and happy landing which were to cost the lives and happiness of thousands; the old Norman wall, with its sally ports and narrow winding streets built up against its huge girth, narrow and winding as those of an Italian village ; while the floating bridge, which cuts you off from the other side at eleven P.M., and where the nuise of the steam and the clattering of their feet on the moving platform frighten horses of the sugarplum breed, leads you to Netley Abbey, one of the most beautiful ruins of the long past. At the Hospital itself countless objects full of pathos, of picturesqueness, of suggestiveness, of information, are to be found. There, sitting on the benches facing the sea and full in the sun, or wandering through the long corridors, are groups of the sick and wounded in their blue jerseys and lighter blue caps. Some are still pale and thin and bandaged; some are coughing ominously; but most are evidently “ on the mend,” if a few have that unmistakable look of the doomed who are waiting on time for death. Others, farther advanced on the good way and formed into a convalescent fatigue-party, are raking together the short sweet grass freshly mown on the banks. In the distance a red-coat makes a telling point of colour as he marches briskly down the long walk that leads between the green lawns; while the tents pitched to the back of the Hospital, filled with men at dinner, give a curious picnic kind of air to the scene. In the wards the most noticeable thing is the extreme order that prevails. No squalor, no dirt, no poor bundles of private rags are to be seen, but everything is instinct with military precision--everything is clean and well set up, and the very sick are not unmindful of their old habits of discipline. Indeed, the order there is perhaps as perfect as anything human can be. A thousand men might be received without a moment's fuss or confusion ; and halt an hour after a whole batch of sick have been admitted it is as though they had been, each in his place, for days. Yet if we wanted any evidence as to the enormous traffic there must be in this Hospital, we need only look at that



heavily cased iron frontage to the stairs, telling as it does of the many feet that continually go up and down.

The Orderlies, with the red cross on the arm for hospital duty, tell us one or two of the most striking cases. It is thrilling enough for us civilians to feel in the presence of those who were face to face with the Zulus and the Afghans, and who came out of the fray with such sorry proof of the foemen's force as this bright-faced cheery boy for one can show. He was shot right through the lung, and the Orderly rolled up his shirt to show where the bullet had gone in and come out of the firm, white, healthy flesh. The lad himself seemed to think nothing of it, but laughed and showed his clear small teeth--said he was all right-mending fast-and would have been sent on to his battalion to-day, but that the wound broke out afresh, and he was stopped. Another poor fellow had a far worse story to tell. A ball entered below the jaw and passed through the opposite temple, destroying both eyes, and his arm was shattered just above the wrist. A young fellow in bed, a strong, finely built man, was giving his surgeons and nurses grave anxiety. He had been wounded with an Afghan spear, and the wound would not heal. It almost looked as if the spear had been poisoned, for there was nothing in the mere wound itself, nor, so far as they could tell, in the lad's constitution to account for the persistent malignity of the sore. Three or four poor fellows were in bed with that sad, patient solemnity of dying men. For them that terrible question of time and death was narrowing to a very short span, and the hours might almost be foretold when all would be over with them for ever.

But far worse cases than were extant in the wards when we were there are to be seen commemorated in pictures and relics in the museum. Here is the ghastly picture of the torn stump of a man's

At the battle of Waterloo it was shot away and badly crushed and mangled; but he galloped off to the hospital at Brussels and did not bleed to death. Here is the lance, broken and twisted, on which a lancer impaled himself. His horse was restive, and he was thrown forward on his weapon. When he looked behind him he saw the head of the lance sticking out at his back. They sawed off the shaft, drew out the head, and the man recovered and lived. Two men were at play fencing with sticks; one thrust the other through the nostril, and the game stopped. The hit man complained of pain in his head ; he soon after became unconscious, and died in a few hours. No outward wound was to be seen, which made the strangeness of the thing, but after his death, on a post-mortem examination, the feruled end of the stick was found embedded in his brain. The most extraordinary



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