The results from this treatment are marvelous, the death rate was immediately reduced from 50% to 15%..—V.B.

Siberia - Manchuria

Vashti Bartlett, assigned to the American Red Cross Mission in Siberia, arrived in Vladivostok in 1919 to assist in the care of thousands of refugees who had amassed there. Fleeing the fierce fighting of the Russian Revolution, large groups throughout the Tsarist empire had escaped eastward on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, spilling into the terminus at Vladivostok. Just as Bartlett began her assignment, the American Red Cross transferred her to Manchuria, where a cholera epidemic was sweeping the city of Harbin. Placed in charge of nursing for the affected region, Bartlett deployed her skills and savvy to quell the contagion and direct nursing for hundreds who had contracted the disease. When Vashti returned to Vladivostok, chaos erupted. Having taken control of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the Bolsheviks advanced upon the city. The American Red Cross closed its Siberia mission forcing Bartlett and her colleagues into a hasty departure.


"Merry Christmas, Siberia, 1919" Relief aid arrives in Vladivostok

Of particular concern was the fate of trainloads of children who had arrived in Vladivostok unaccompanied by parents or care givers

Some idea of the magnitude of the cholera epidemic can be gained, when I tell you that at first the death rate was from two to three hundred daily. It seems that the cause of death is due to the fact that so much of the fluids of the body are given off in the almost constant vomiting and stools that the blood cannot flow for lack of fluid and the death rate is lessened 50 percent by this treatment [intravenous infusion of glucose and electrolytes].


The yard surrounding the hospital was filled with hundreds of patients in all stages of the disease, awaiting their turn for treatment ….As soon as possible straw shelters with mosquito netting sides were erected, box cars utilized as temporary hospitals and in a surprisingly short time the situation was well in hand. We divided our forces and quickly set to work transfusing as many patients in twenty-four hours as humanly possible. The results from this treatment are marvelous, the death rate was immediately reduced from 50% to 15%. —V. B.



Czech Soldiers marching in streets of Vladivostok


Inside of Fuchiatian Cholera Hospital, Dr. Ling in charge.—V.B.

Vashti with American Red Cross doctors and nurses, in a "Rich man's grave yard" Harbin, Manchuria

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