How did Typhoid Mary get a clean bill of health?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - THEATRE & FILM - EMER O’KELLY

Typhoid Mary

Vik­ing The­atre, Clon­tarf, Dublin ac­cept the ne­ces­sity for clean­li­ness, and re­sisted giv­ing urine and fae­cal sam­ples for anal­y­sis, which had to be taken forcibly. She was re­leased from iso­la­tion in 1910 when she gave an un­der­tak­ing not to work as a cook. She broke her word, changed her name, and as Mary Brown got a job as cook in a ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tal in 1915, where again typhoid broke out.

Typhoid Mary was iden­ti­fied, and again taken into an iso­la­tion hos­pi­tal, where she died more than 20 years later, still re­fus­ing to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what had hap­pened.

While it is easy to feel pity for her un­happy life, it’s en­tirely rea­son­able to ac­cept the duty of the au­thor­i­ties to pre­vent the woman’s wil­ful stu­pid­ity from cre­at­ing fur­ther havoc within the NY pub­lic health sys­tem.

So while Charlotte Bradley’s per­for­mance as Mary in the Vik­ing The­atre pro­duc­tion is ap­peal­ing un­der Bair­bre Ni Chaoimh’s al­ways imag­i­na­tive and em­pa­thetic di­rec­tion, it’s at odds with the known facts, and very much in tune with the Ir­ish pen­chant for claim­ing blame­less vic­tim­hood.

‘It is easy to feel pity for her un­happy life’

Charlotte Bradley in ‘Typhoid Mary’

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