|French Nurse Suzanne Raguin and Multiple Amputee |
Lieutenant Robert Fletcher
Engaged at the start of the war as a volunteer nurse at the Union des Femmes de France, Suzanne Raguin, wife of the mayor of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher, was the only French Nurse at the American hospital in Blois in 1918 and 1919. Very early in her service she caught the attention of military doctors by her listening skills, humanity, and common sense in evaluating a priority intervention. Close to the wounded, the medical nurse attracted the sympathy of the Doughboys by her benevolent smile and her gentle gestures to treat a deep wound. The wounded Doughboys started calling her the "Little Mother."
One morning, Lt. Robert Fletcher, seriously injured in his legs, arrived in the emergency room. Suzanne, preforming the triage function, saw the soldier had contracted gangrene and recommended amputation of both legs to the attending surgeon, Dr. Fred Hodgson, who was unfortunately too busy to intervene immediately. Suzanne, however, insisted, "You have to operate doctor, otherwise this boy will die of gangrene!" Now interested, the doctor ended up taking a closer look and proceeded to the immediate amputation. The intervention Suzanne suggested saved Robert Fletcher's life. He would survive until 1949.
In the 1920s, Mrs. Raguin made an American tour to visit some of the men she had cared for such as Lt. Fletcher. The photo above, dated 15 July 1920, was taken on her trip.
Note added 28 June 21: One of our readers has pointed out that Lt. Fletcher also appears to have lost his left arm. I've found no information referencing any injuries other than to his legs, but I've changed the references from a "double" amputee to multiple. MH
Source: Departmental Archives, Loir-et-Cher; the Lanouvellere Republic