Emily Nurses her Friend Millie Figgis
Emily was working in the Meath Hospital just as the First World War was winding down, and the Spanish Flu was at its peak in November 1918. Normally she took personal interest in the political situation but she had important things on her mind. As well as being exhausted at working long shifts nursing the flu victims she also nursed her friend Millie Figgis, whose husband, Darrell was in prison in Durham Gaol as a political prisoner. He was later released on parole, but not before Emily intervened on behalf of his wife.
Both Emily and her doctor, Alice Barry were very concerned about at the severe nature of Millie’s illness as she had an underlying heart condition. The flu could be deadly in her case. To make matters worse the mortality rate was highest in the 20-40 age group of which Mrs Figgis was in at the time.
Her doctor Dr. Alice Barry was not too concerned at first, as the authorities recorded: “The Doctor expressed the opinion that she is not in danger of death at present, but that she may develop serious symptoms later.” That was written on 11 November 1918, that day the war ended. A day later Emily made her way to a post office to send a telegram to the Chief Secretary’s office. Emily was not one to bother with middle men.
“I wish to draw your attention to the urgency of the matter placed before you in regard to Mrs. Darrell Figgis.. Weddall Nurse”
Her word was not taken seriously buy the authorities even as a person with medical knowledge. Neither was Mrs. Figgis doctor, as she and Emily were both under surveillance.
“Mrs Weddall is a Nurse in the Meath Hospital; she belongs to Achill and is a personal friend of Mrs Figgis. It is said that this Nurse holds extreme views.”
Emily and Dr. Barry’s plea worked. Darrell Figgis was released on compassionate leave and Millie got better.
Public Record Office CO 904/201/141