|Captain Helen Whitfield|
Gail Strickland as Nurse Helen Whitfield in the Season 9 episode "Bottoms Up".
|Rank:||Captain (0-3), U.S. Army|
|Job/Role in Unit:||Nurse, 4077th MASH|
|Home:||Dale City, VA|
|Relatives/Children:||Parents in Dale City|
|First appeared in:||"Bottoms Up" (Season 9)|
|Last appeared in:||N/A, one time appearance|
|Appeared on/or in:||M*A*S*H TV series|
|Played by:||Gail Stickland|
Cpt. Helen Whitfield makes a one-time appearance on the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H in the Season 9 episode titled "Bottoms Up" as a nurse who must deal with the problem of alcoholism. The part of Nurse Whitfield was played by actress Gail Strickland.
About Nurse Helen WhitfieldEdit
Helen is posted into the 4077th MASH to spend her last two months of her tour of duty in Korea before being posted back to the US. Older and more senior than the other nurses in the camp, the younger nurses like Shari and Kellye address her as "captain" even though they share the nurses tent with her. She is excited about her next posting, which will be Fort Meade, MD, close enough so that she could visit her parents in Dale City, VA, on the weekends. Margaret, her good friend, is envious about that and tells her it must be a foul up because the army never posts anyone to a station thirty miles from home. The two senior nurses spend a lot of time together but mysteriously, Helen always excuses herself early on one pretext or another.
The other nurses begin to notice that she is occasionally under the weather but she insists she is fine. Things however come to a head in the O.R. when she accidentally fetches a bottle of blood of the wrong type for Potter, a near fatal error which Klinger catches just in time.
That same night, Klinger stumbles upon Helen drunk in the supply tent and, with some reluctance, reports it to Col. Potter, at the same time, mentioning the incident in the O.R. But when Potter brings the news to Margaret, she vehemently defends her friend, accusing him of double standards--why is it that a woman can't get a little drunk when Hawkeye, BJ and even Potter drink all the time? But Potter is adament that they cannot take chances in the O.R. He says that Margaret and Helen go a long way back and asks if Helen ever had a drinking problem. Margaret lies for her friend and insists absolutely not. She is sure it is a one time thing but promises Potter she would take care of it.
Margaret confronts Helen about her drinking. At first Helen denies it but Margaret is insistent--she knows she has been drinking for years but now things are different--service in Korea is hard, but people's lives are at stake, and Helen can no longer be the party girl she used to be. Margaret decides to transfer Helen out of the O.R. to the lab. Helen tries to beg off but Margaret finally convinces her that it was for her best. She says that Margaret is her best friend and she promises not to touch another drop--she will not let her friend down.
A few days later, Potter and Margaret watch Helen in the mess tent. Potter asks Margaret if her friend was still in "drk dock". Margaret assures him that Helen has never been left alone and hadn't been able to sneak any drinks. But the sight of the beef stew in the mess sends Helen into convulsions--she begins to see things moving in it. Potter and Margaret have to restrain her and calm her down while explaining to the others that this is a case of the "DTs" which some people experience when coming off alcohol. Tearfully, Helen tells Margaret that she had kept her word and hadn't touch alcohol--the DT was proof of that.
A few weeks go by and Margaret receives a letter from Helen who has returned home to the US. She tells Margaret that she had been seeking help for her alcoholism and had made a lot of progress. Potter, in the Officers' Club with Margaret, is happy to hear this, saying that the biggest step in recovering is admitting that there is a problem. Potter and Margaret feel the good news deserves a toast and so order two scotch and waters--hold the scotch.