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"I ain't much dignified in this dying business."
- {{{2}}}


Joseph “Joe” Brittall was the patriarch of the Brittall family, after spending his whole life working at the docks he is dying of Pneumoconiosis.

Overview[]

Joe is first seen when Nurse Trixie Franklin and Mother Mildred, who is covering for Nurse Phyllis Crane, arrive. He is being cared for by his daughter-in-law Gilda Brittall, whose husband and two grown up sons currently work at the docks as he did. He is suffering from a lung infection caused by the decades of working in dusty warehouses, and he is aware that he is dying and gratefully takes the oxygen offered to him.

His son Barney shows the Nurses a nasty boil and Mother Mildred compares it to boils she has seen in the slums of Kowloon, this offends Gilda so much she doesn’t want Mother Mildred back there. In the end Barney is diagnosed with anthrax because of the lack of protective equipment in the docks and it looks like he may die of it. Mother Mildred is later grudgingly forgiven by Gilda for her comments, Gilda is angry that of all the people who could get sick it was her husband and fears for her sons futures in the docks. The docks are closed down to be checked, though it is only Barney who is sick.

Joe is only getting worse and the end approaches for him. His grandson Ed shows an interest in running for the position of union leader, something Mother Mildred readily encourages. However, any changes Ed could have made came too late for Joe as he soon dies. His son Barney who is recovering from the anthrax is let out of hospital to come to the deathbed. Joe takes his last breath surrounded by the nurses and his loving family. His grandson Ed gets enough nominations to stand and promises to make work at the docks safer for everyone’s sons, maybe even his own one day.

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