Drawing of Abbie Sweetwine treating injured during the 1952 Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash
|Born||28 May 1921|
|Died||7 May 2009|
|Employer||United States Air Force|
Abbie Sweetwine (28 May 1921 – 7 May 2009) was an African-American nurse who was named the "The Angel of Platform 6" for her work during the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash.
Sweetwine was born in Florida. She began her service life in the army. Sweetwine is well known for her involvement with the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash. During the morning rush hour on October 8, 1952 a three-train collision at Harrow & Wealdstone station resulted in hundreds of casualties. Fortunately, members of the 494th Medical Group of the United States Air Force were on board one of the trains, and called their new USAF Hospital Station in South Ruislip. The USAF Hospital sent out an emergency response team, which included 7 doctors and one nurse – Sweetwine.
Sweetwine and her colleagues established a triage station on the platforms of Harrow & Wealdstone station. The doctors who had responded to the emergency call started to treat the wounded before they were taken to hospital. Sweetwine handed out cigarettes and tea to those who were lightly wounded, as well as providing blood plasma and morphine to those in need. Using her own lipstick, Sweetwine marked the people who had been treated with an 'X' and those who had been treated with morphine an 'M'. She relayed this information to the ambulance crews, who informed the hospitals about the status of each patient. Sweetwine's efforts ensured that patients did not receive an overdose of morphine. The Daily Mirror dubbed Sweetwine "the Angel of Platform Six". In January 1953 she was invited to a celebratory luncheon of the Royal Variety Charity at the Savoy Hotel. They presented her with a cigarette case with her name engraved upon it. By the time of her retirement she was a Major in the United States Air Force.
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