the 'carnage' is being appauling, and we have been practically in it, as far as horrors go.
Imagine a hospital as big as King's College Hospital all packed into a train, and having to be self-provisioned, water, sanitated, lil, cleaned, doctored and nursed and staffed and officered, all within its own limits. No outside person can realise the difficulties except those who try to work it.
many very bad cases, fractures spine, a nearly dying lung case, a boy with wound in lung and live, three pneumonias, some bad enterics (though the worst had not been moved).
I have expected that one or two of the patients would get out of bed and try to rape me, but I soon discovered that none of them were in a position to rape anybody
Touching the wounds of soldiers is the most intimate way of body-witnessing history witnessing in and through exposed flesh
there is a frightful compromise which generates a sense of impropriety in the act of witnessing, of the nurse registering the shame of the patient at his awareness of the nurse's knowledge.
The nurse, as well as the reader, is left with a crippling sense of inadequacy.
the trauma of witnessing, the steeling of nerves required by these young women suddenly transported from comfortable bourgeois setting into the operating theatre.
one of the central problems of both frightful witnessing and representation: the limits of sympathy and language.
the memoirs of the nurses speak to us in a double voice: the exhilaration of service-of taking part in a man's world and actively moulding the course of history through the remaking of the soldiers-often has as its underside the trauma of the helpless witness. If moments of actual physical contact help the nurses to stake their legitimate claim on history and establish a common ground with the soldiers, the recollection of the traumatic moments also serves as faultlines within the text, marking points of ideological rupture.