14 AUGUST 1880, Page 12



[TO ins EDITOR OF TSR "SPECTATOR.") Srit,—Your last article on the controversy at Guy's Hospital obliges me to trouble you with the following reply. As to the. fact of alleged faults occurring in the wards of old and trusted. Sisters, you surely forget that the first of the complaints of the Medical Staff was that the responsibility of our ward sisters. was being injuriously diminished by the regulations of a central. authority. As to the religions aspect of the question, it must. be remembered that our second complaint was, that the primary object of curing the sick was endangered by the introduction of an intolerant religious spirit. To treat this aspect of the ques- tion as non-existent will amuse any one who knows Guy's. Hospital, almost as much as the supposition of Dr. Habershon sneering at prayers. As to the reform of our nursing, we need_ not fear that any one will believe that doctors prefer their patients to be miserable and ill-nursed. They have been fore- most in improving nursing, but they venture to have their own judgment as to what is reform and what is not.

Lastly, as to the Matron. It is quite possible that she has. reason to complain of those who put her into an untenable position. It is quite possible that she would be invaluable in a hospital small enough to be managed by a single person, and uniform enough to need little variation of rules for special de- partments ; without a great medical school, and supported by

the contributions of those who might very properly put the training of nurses and the furtherance of their own form of religion next to the curing of the sick. That Guy's Hospital is the opposite of all this, is this lady's misfortune, and I sin- cerely lament that she should suffer for it. But I cannot forget that other ladies, some of whom hid faithfully served the Hos- pital as ward sistens for 'more years than the present matron has months, have been abruptly dismissed, as sacrifices to the new nursing and religious system. That the representative of this system is maintained in opposition to the unanimous and deliberate judgment of the entire Medical Staff, would be in- credible, if it were not true.

We have no wish to lay undue weight upon a recent unfor- tunate case. Onr position is abundantly strong without exag- geration, and we do not doubt how the contest which has been forced upon us will end. Under other conditions, the attempt to introduce a system which we know to be mischievous to our hospital and school might have been successful, but the mingled violence and weakness of its supporters have already lost them

[We laid nothing about Dr. Habershon sneering at prayers, qud prayers. What we said was that Dr. Habershon tried to excite prejudice against the new Sisters, and to sneer at them on the ground that " they go to prayers," which he did. He remarked that the only thing said in favour of them was, " they look better, they go to prayers ;" and of course that is a sneer, and was adapted, whether or not intended, to suggest Ritualistic tendencies which do not exist. For the rest, so far as we have been able to judge, the violence has been, if not greater in intensity, much greater in quantity on the side of the Medical Staff than on the opposite side. And the Governors have steadily discountenanced violence of all kinds.—ED. Spectator.]