Florence Nightingale

Sep 10, 2012 by

Florence Nightingale, A Biography written by Annie Matheson was first published in 1913. Florence Nightingale was born in Florence and named after her birth city. She is remembered as the founder of modern day nursing. During the Crimean War she instituted  cleaning and sanitation methods never before used.  Her germ killing  methods were new and controversial at the time, as was her scheduling of round-the-clock checks on patients. When her tireless efforts proved successful, she was asked to inspect all the allied medical hospitals. By the end of the war however she was exhausted and sick with Crimean fever.  Though semi-invalid the remainder of her life from the fever, she nevertheless organized a group of women to carry on her work and in 1860 she founded a nursing school.  Annie Matheson was a Victorian poet who wrote this, one of the very first biographies of Florence Nightingale. This is a true and complete reproduction of her book printed originally in Great Britain in 1913. This is the story of an amazingly brave woman.

A few paragraphs from the book:  “Where shall I begin, or how can I ever describe my first day in the hospital at Scutari ? Vessels were arriving, and the orderlies carrying the poor fellows, who, with their wounds and frost-bites, had been tossing about on the Black Sea for two or three days, and sometimes more. Where were they to go ? Not an available bed. They were laid on the floor one after another, till the beds were emptied of those dying of cholera and every other disease. Many died immediately after being brought in — their moans would pierce the heart — the taking of them in and out of the vessels must have increased their pain. ” The look of agony in those poor dying faces will never leave my heart.
Week in, week out, the cholera went on. The same remedies were continued, though almost always to fail. However, while there was life there was hope, and we kept on the warm applications to the last. When it came near the end the patients got into a sort of collapse, out of which they did not rally. We begged the orderlies, waiting to take them to the dead-house, to wait a little lest they might not be dead ; and with great difficulty we prevailed on them to make the least delay. As a rule the orderlies drank freely — to drown their grief, they said. I must say that their position was a very hard one — their work always increasing — and such work ; death around them on every side ; their own lives in continual danger — it was almost for them a continuation of the field of battle.
The poor wounded men brought in out of the vessels were in a dreadful state of dirt, and so weak that whatever cleaning they got had to be done cautiously. Oh, the state of those fine fellows, so worn out with fatigue, so full of vermin ! Most, or all, of them required spoon feeding. We had wine, sago, arrowroot. Indeed, I think there was everything in the stores, but it was so hard to get them. . . . An orderly officer took the rounds of the wards every night to see that all was right. He was expected bv the orderlies, and the moment he raised the latch one cried out, ‘ All right, your honour.’ Many a time I said, ‘ All wrong.’ The poor officer, of course, went his way ; and one could scarcely blame him for not entering those wards, so filled with pestilence, the air so dreadful that to breathe it might cost him his life. And then, what could he do even if he did come ? I remember one day an officer’s orderly being brought in — a dreadful case of cholera ; and so devoted was his master that he came in every half-hour to see him, and stood over him in the bed as if it was only a cold he had ; the poor fellow died after a few hours’ illness. I hope his devoted master escaped. I never heard.”

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