Traversing the veldt with ‘Tommy Atkins’
The clinical challenges of nursing typhoid patients during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902)
in One hundred years of wartime nursing practices, 1854–1953
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Nurses frequently relocated to wherever 'Tommy Atkins' required skilled care provision across the South African veldt: the wide-open rural spaces where battle often took place. This chapter examines the challenges faced by nurses caring for the thousands of soldiers suffering as a result of the typhoid epidemics that infected the ranks of the army. The nursing of patients with typhoid was to comprise the greater part of the nurses' work in South Africa, with the Anglo-Boer War subsequently described by medical historians as 'the last of the typhoid campaigns'. With neither definitive nor an effective treatment regime identified for typhoid fever, it was still common practice in 1899 to treat typhoid with stimulants and by antipyretic methods. Civilian nurses also witnessed typhoid patients having to endure substandard conditions.

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