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CHRISTCHURCH, April 28. At the Magistrate's Court to-day, before. ■Mr S; E. McCarthy, S.M., Florence- Martha Lewis (formerly Nurse Parker) claimed from the Ashburton Hospital and Charitable Aid Board the •sum of £16 for two and a-half weeks' services as matron at the Methven temporary hospital during the influenza epidemic:. The board counter-claimed for £20, the value of 42 mattresses, 65 pillowslips, and a carpet runner, stated to have been burned, by i-s'urse Parker without authority.Mr Thomas appeared on behalf of the plaintiff, and Mr Purnell: (Ashburton) for the defendant board. In outlining the case for plaintiff, Mr Thomas .stated that Nurse Parker was a certificated mental hospital nurse, who had come to Cbristchureh to assist during the epidemic. She had been sent to Rangiora and subsequently to Methven, where she served for two arid a-half weeks, when " the hospital was closed. There were many patients there, but no death had occurred. Piaint.iff had gone to Methven as a nurse, but found herself .in the position, of a matron. She ]iad received -equal to about £4 4s at Rangiora as a nurse, but had refused a simitar amount in consideration of carrying out -tho-duties of matron at Methven. It was a question as to

'whether plaintiff was entitled to the £6 6s a week, which she claimed, or to the smaller sum off creed. Ordinary

helpers were-paid 10s, a day. The duties wore very strenuous,' ■ and plaintiff broke down partially. In regard to the counter-claim, plaintiff had suggested that infected mattresses, pillows, and any other infected article should bo burned, as was the case at hospitals. Dr. Todd, who was in charge, of the Mothven District, had evidently given plaintiff to. understand that she should destroy infected articles.

Plaintiff stated that she was a certificated mental nurse. She had come from Seacliff in October to work in connection with the epidemic, and had gone to Rangiora, working on night duty at the hospital for nine nights, for ,wh)eh her remuneration was £5 10s. She was then sent to Methven as a nurse. She found that her duties were those of matron—she was in full charge. As the- remuneration offered her after two and. a half weeks at the rate of £4 4s a week, she refused to accept it. Subsequently witness nursed privately at £10 10s a week. Dr. Todd had agreed that she shouldburn the mattresses and infected articles. Mattresses at Rangiora had been burned. A patient had been sick on a carpet runuer, which was burned also.

To Mr Purnell: Witness had no experience in hospitals outside of mental hospitals.-"She wjn-s engaged by. Nurse Maude to go- to Rangiora. The pay was 10s. a day. Nurse, Maude engaged witness to go to Methven. A Mrs Nevi'He was present on both occasions.

The rate of pay at Methven was not mentioned. On arrival: at Methven there were two voluntary nurses and a matron, who left the same day. The last patient left the hospital on the day witness did—the hospital was in fact closed, that day. Dr. Todd had agreed to a suggestion that the articles referred to should be burned.

Mr Purnell here read the evidence of Dr. Todd (taken on commission). The Magistrate, in giving his decision, said the first question for the Court to decide was as to the rate of remuneration under the circumstances, plaintiff having found hereself in the position of a person in complete charge at the temporary hospital. No agreement had been made, but as voluntary workers got 10s a day he considered that 4£ guineas a week was a reasonable, rate. for plaintiff. As to the counter-claim the evidence and circumstances pointed to authorisation by IDr Todd. The evidence (taken on commission) by Mr Aspili, licensee of the hotel whose premises had been turned into the temporary hospital, corroborated the evidence of plaintiff on this important point. Judgment, therefore, would be for' plaintiff for £12 3s for remuneration, and also in her favour on the counter-claim, with costs.

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Bibliographic details

NURSE'S CLAIM., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919

Word Count

NURSE'S CLAIM. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919

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