- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
411

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XXVI. Miss Hall

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returned my Messina medal to the Italian
Government, I have got it somewhere in a drawer, with
a clear conscience and no greater confusion in
my philosophy than before. There was in fact
no reason why I should not accept this medal,
for what I did in Messina was very little
compared with what I saw hundreds of unnamed
and unrecorded people do at the peril of their
lives. I myself was in no peril except that of
dying from hunger and from my own stupidity.
It is true that I brought a number of
half-suffocated people back to life by means of artificial
respiration, but there are few doctors, nurses or
coastguards who have not done the same for
nothing. I know that I dragged single-handed
an old woman from what had been her kitchen
but I also know that I abandoned her in the
street screaming for help, with her two legs broken.
There was indeed nothing else for me to do, until
the arrival of the first hospital ship no dressing
material and no medicine whatsoever was
obtainable. There was also the naked baby I found
late one evening in a courtyard, I took it to my
cellar where it slept peacefully the whole night,
tucked under my coat, now and then sucking my
thumb in its sleep. In the morning I took it to
the nuns of S. Teresa in what remained of their
chapel where already over a dozen babies were
lying on the floor screaming with hunger, as for
a whole week not a drop of milk could be found
in Messina. I always marvelled at the number
of unhurt babies picked out of the ruins or found
in the streets, it almost looked as if Almighty
God had shown a little more pity on them than

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