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Dome - Care That Transcends Time

Dome October 2014

Care That Transcends Time

Date: October 6, 2014


Dorothy Hutchins and “Nurse Charlotte” Rollenhagen
Dorothy Hutchins and “Nurse Charlotte” Rollenhagen

Care That Transcends Time: In the fall of 1940, a visiting student nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital took on the grim task of changing the daily dressings of a 10-year-old child badly burned when her dress caught on fire in a kitchen accident. Dorothy Hutchins, now 84, believes that “Nurse Charlotte” Rollenhagen’s tender dedication—and medical care at Johns Hopkins—saved her life. It also sparked a friendship that has flourished for 74 years. After receiving her surgical training at Johns Hopkins, Rollenhagen, left, worked as a nurse in the Midwest and in Washington while Hutchins raised four children in Baltimore. Rollenhagen, now 95, recently returned to Maryland to see her former patient, and the women recalled a critical time that has become part of family history.

Dorothy: Those dressing changes, which came every shift, could be more painful than being on fire. You were my guardian angel.

Nurse Charlotte: In those days before antibiotics, it was excruciatingly important that we used the best sterile technique that we had for burns. They were raw, open and very hard to look at. Changing those dressings was so painful. I would soak them again and loosen them, then ease them off. I dreaded the procedure every single time as much as you did.

To hear more of their conversation, watch the video.