A Most Deadly Disease

Rob Warden

<i>1st September 1854</i>
The man coughs weakly and tries to bring his knees up to his chest. Nurse Reed wipes his chin and lays a comforting hand on his forehead.
The whisper of her calloused palm sliding across his stubbled cheek is the loudest sound in the room. It would not be long now. The violent diarrhoea and vomiting have ceased. I pat his shoulder uselessly, aiming to make him comfortable. She steps back and leaves me to work.
Check his pulse
Examine his tongue and eyes
Examine the discharge
Take his temperature
His is the fifth case this week