Tuesday, March 08, 2005


She arrived early in November 1854. In Scutari (modern-day Uskudar in Istanbul, Turkey) Nightingale and her nurses found wounded soldiers being badly cared for by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients.
Nightingale and her compatriots began by thoroughly cleaning the hospital and equipment, and reorganizing patient care. Although she met resistance from the doctors and officers, her changes vastly improved conditions for the wounded and by April dropped mortality rates by 40 per cent to just two per cent. She sent many letters to Herbert, to facilitate better medical care.
Reportedly she treated 2,000 patients herself. She also contracted Crimean fever. She is remembered today because of the compassion, care and administrative skills that she introduced to the profession of nursing, to patient care and to the maintenance of medical records.
Nightingale's work inspired massive public support throughout England, where she was celebrated and admired as "The Lady of The Lamp" after the Grecian lamp she always carried in her tireless evening and night-time visits to injured soldiers. Nightingale's lamp also allowed her to work late every night, maintaining meticulous medical records for the hospital, and writing personal letters to the family of every soldier who died in the hospital. The depth of her commitment to the care of her patients in Crimea earned her the everlasting respect and affection of the common soldier.


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