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[Written- for the 'Stab.'] "You had better stay with him till he comes to," said the kindly surgeon, as ho looked with pitying glance at the little patient who had just passed through a critical operation and was being carefully conveyed from the table in tho operating theatre to his bed in the children's ward. With a friendly ''Good-night!" the tired doctor passed en to hie well-earned rest, while I went through to the children's ward and was given a seat bv mv loved .::)►.'■; :'-iur- ' ' * " i% It was not the first time- I had been in a hospital ward at night, but it is always a weird and pitiful experience, and "it passes into a heart-breaking one when the nearest bed contains the silent form of a precious child still held fast in the grip of the merciful anaesthetic. As I sat watching the lace of my loved one, waiting for the first sign of returning consciousness, wondering whether consciousness would bring great pain or not, and occasionally looking up to watch a flitting liiht or listen to the low moan of some restless sleeper, a kindly voice beside me brought me to the sense that my head ached and I was pretty well knocked out by inviting me to take a cup of hot tea. After this refreshment I passed back into tho shadowy ward to resume my scat and ray anxious watch. Before me lay a long ward wrapped in shadows, with the dim outlines of two rows of little beds, ftach containing a small patient. Most jay quietly fleeping the deep, health-giv-ing sleep of childhood. Some were Restless ._ One quaint little figure sat silently up in the gloom. A light burnt only in the corner where the little man who* had just jwesed through his dreadful ordeal lay. Now and again a tiny voice out of, the shadow from one part or another of the ward would ciy " Xurse!" and how promptly and pleasantly the cry was answered. So me t:\mes one wondered how the call could be heard, but the sharpeared vigilant nuiee, even when in soma room adjoining the ward, seemed to hear each one, and responded instantly wjth the soothing word, the drop of cool water, the adjustment of a bandage, or some such necessary attention. Every now and I again from out the dark (and draughtv) corridor, as silently as an angel visitant, would appear a watchful "Sister" in her scarlet cape. A few whispered words of consultation, and then "It has seemed a short nifrht to-night, nurse." "Yes, it always does when we have an operation." Then in the very early morning each little bed was visited in turn, and a smiio and a kindly word bestowed, while the temperature was carefully token, the pulse felt, the respirations counted, the wounds | dressed, the bandages adjusted, and each i little patient made nice and comfortable. , And just a little later, when some people j are taking another turn in their twd<, on ] came a bevy of fresh, bright-looking. i healthy nurses, with smiling faces and a cheery word to one and another of the little patients. "Good morning, Leslie!" "How are you, Nellie?' 1 etc. And the faithful night nurse, having given her | report, disappears with the rising 6un to j seek her well-earned repose. And the J writer saw her pass from the ward, and so did the King, who says: " Inasmuch as ye did it unto cue of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." I could not help thinking, as I rose to return to my home, that although the hospital is a good place to be out of, many a tired, anxious mother would be glad at heart to see how carefully and skilfully the dear little child, whom her poverty or the terrible nature of the operation to be performed has necessitated removal to our Hospital, was watched over and cared for through the long watches of the night. I thought of tired mothers of families, worn out with the day's duties, wearily and at times almost impatiently rising at the cry of a sick child several times in a night, and, often anxious as to new symptoms arising, having to begin the duties of a new dav with aching head and heavy limb 6. What a difference here! A strong, kindly, capable, gentle nurse, rested and viailant, with quick eye and ear and skilful hand, ready to respond at your child's faintest call with all the attention possible. If any serious symptom arises there is the experienced "Bister" to consult; if both are at a loss how to act there is the house surgeon at the other end of tho telephone; he in turn can consult the honorary surgeon or physician at a moment's notice. Bo I left my child knowing that he, in common with the children of others, would be carefully watched, and tended as gently and a# ririlfaHj o» the ftiiM of A king

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Bibliographic details

A NIGHT IN THE CHILDREN'S WARD, Evening Star, Issue 15683, 23 December 1914

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A NIGHT IN THE CHILDREN'S WARD Evening Star, Issue 15683, 23 December 1914