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Susan Bailey

Image: Museum of Toronto.

Susan Bailey, head nurse of the Emigrant Hospital, was a front-line worker and one of the first healthcare professionals to respond to the typhus epidemic in 1847. Bailey herself contracted the fever in her dedicated service to her patients.
19th Century | Nurse

During the peak of the typhus epidemic in 1847, recent Irish emigrants in Toronto were one of the hardest hit populations in the city. Toronto, with a population of under 20,000 at the time, faced an overwhelming influx of 38,000 sick migrants that summer. Susan Bailey, the Head Nurse at Toronto’s Emigrant Hospital, was determined to serve the growing number of patients that were coming through their doors. By August of 1847, at the age of 32, Bailey lost her life to typhus while caring for the city’s newcomers in need.

Susan Bailey’s selfless efforts and untimely death highlight the hardships faced during this period of history.

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