- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
381

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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was bleeding from his nose and from his bowels,
the action of the heart became very irregular,
symptoms of immediate collapse set in. None
of us left the room during the whole day, we
expected him to die any moment. To our
surprise his breathing became easier towards
evening, the local conditions of the throat seemed
somewhat better, the pulse less irregular. I
begged old Erhardt to go home for a couple of
hours sleep, he said he was too interested in
watching the case to feel any fatigue. With the
arrival of Sœur Philippine, the English Blue
Sister, one of the best nurses I have ever had,
the rumour that diphtheria had broken out on
the top floor had spread like wildfire all over the
crowded hotel. The director sent me word that
the boy must be removed at once to a hospital
or nursing home. I answered that neither
Erhardt nor I would take the responsibility,
he would certainly die on the way. Besides we
knew of no place to take him to, the
arrangements for dealing with such an emergency case
were in those days hopelessly inadequate. A
moment later the Pittsburgh millionaire told
me through the half open door that he had
ordered the director to clear out the whole top
floor at his expense, he would rather buy the
whole Grand Hôtel than have his son removed
at the peril of his life. Towards the evening it
became evident that the mother had caught the
infection. Next morning the whole wing of the
top floor had been evacuated. Even the waiters
and the chambermaids had fled. Only Signor
Cornacchia, the undertaker, was slowly patrolling

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