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Remembered Today:

Hospital etiquette


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This question is prompted by the libretto of a modern opera, with a scene set in a WW1 hospital, where staff addressed the patients by their bed number e.g "Oh do be quiet number 23".

This didn't seem right to me, as I had assumed that hospital patients, at least when conscious, were addressed by their surnames, and maybe rank too.

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Being that it is a military hospital, common sense dictates that patients are addressed by rank and surname. I would assume that being it is an opera, the idea of numbers has been used to emphisise that the soldiers were simply that. faceless numbers in the greater scheme of things.

Most likely not militarily correct, but it suits the arts interpretation.

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Guest Pete Wood

But if your rank was Private (or the equivalent) then, in my experience, a patient was likely to be referred to by his/her surname only.

"How are we feeling today, Smith" etc.

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Kate,

A couple of years ago myself and Somme 1916 from the forum, whilst we were both based at NATO (SHAPE) in Mons helped the SHAPE Players set up a play by Michael Lynch known as Hero. Its about the last few hours of a wounded soldier in a field hospital during WW1. During the play he was always addressed as Pte Underwood. In my own military experience I have only been in two British Military Hospitals and there I was addressed by my rank and name and occasionally by my first name. But thats modern day.

Best regards

Iain

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I came upon an incident (Was it on the forum?) where an ex- university lecturer with the rank of sergeant, I think, was in a ward full of ORs. He was visited by a well known bigwig of the day, who knew him at university. After the visit, the sister came to him and said, angrily "Why didn`t you tell me you were a gentleman?" With that in mind, numbers don`t seem so far fetched, though in my stay in army hospital in the fifties, surnames were the order of the day. Phil B

PS Could it have been designed to avoid young inexperienced nursing staff identifying too closely with the patients?

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Ali Hollington

Unless it was a case of a common surname, sometimes the way to make sure you have the right person could be to use their last 2 digits of their service number. My section in training had two Danny Pages.

Ali

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Guest stevenbec

Mate,

Have spent some time in and out of hospitals in my time I can say some can be very militaryistic about there ranks.

Since some of the staff beleive they are gods sent down for cure us, then they can be real ******** about it.

I remeber being blinded by petrol and for three days stuck in hosp untill the bandages would come off to check if I could see or not and being ordered out of bed to be dressed and shaved in the morning by the head nurse. She wasn't to polite about it either. Or being feed by the nurse who had a habit of missing my mouth with the food.

But I must say some of the nurses were real good in one way or the other and being caught by the matron with a nurse in the brew room getting down to it late one night didn't endear me to all.

S.B

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Dear Stevenbec,

Was that before or after they removed the bandages?

One of my best mates was a male nurse (and a Captain in the AER). he worked in one surgical ward where the patients passed through so quickly they were known by their ailments

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to carry this thread further. How were the nurses adressed ??? Nurse ore ma'm. Ore what? when you met them did you salute them, as they were officers in rank.

did they salute?

Would be intresting to know the answer for it.

coo-ee

patrick

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