Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, June 8, 1898
Now what does Daisy want in Cuba? Does she want to go merely for the fun of the thing? — for a sentiment only? If so — while the sentiment of course is an honorable thing — showing her good heart and spirit — to put it into execution would be foolish — and even culpable — considering the danger involved. As foolish — as — from sentiment and pity — to nurse a smallpox patient without having been vaccinated or having herself had the disease — with lots of immune nurses at hand to attend to the case. If no immune nurses were to be had — and the patient were her own dear mother — or — or — or father? — there sight be some duty about the matter — compelling a proper spirited girl to run some risk for the sake of others — but none of these points apply to Cuba.
You and I and the Red Cross Authorities would be culpable to allow a young girl — not immune to yellow fever — to venture into Cuba now when immunes are to be had. If it is a sincere desire to help the helpless that dictates the desire — then it should be the duty of wiser heads to show her that nurses not immune themselves — are more likely to add to the list of helpless — than to be of help themselves.
Then again it should be the duty of those in authority to see that the weak and helpless — have trained help — nurses specially trained for the work — and not inexperienced persons.