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Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910), who came to be known as "The Lady with the Lamp", was a pioneering nurse, writer and noted statistician.
Florence Nightingale's most famous contribution came during the Crimean War, which became her central focus when reports began to filter back to Britain about the horrific conditions for the wounded. On 21 October 1854, she and a staff of 38 women volunteer nurses, trained by Nightingale and including her aunt Mai Smith, were sent (under the authorization of Sidney Herbert) to Turkey, about 545 km across the Black Sea from Balaklava in the Crimea, where the main British camp was based.
Nightingale arrived early in November 1854 at Selimiye Barracks in Scutari (modern-day Üsküdar in Istanbul). She 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.
Death rates did not drop; on the contrary, they began to rise. The death count was the highest of all hospitals in the region. During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died there. Ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. Conditions at the temporary barracks hospital were so fatal to the patients because of overcrowding and the hospital's defective sewers and lack of ventilation. A Sanitary Commission had to be sent out by the British government to Scutari in March 1855, almost six months after Florence Nightingale had arrived, and effected flushing out the sewers and improvements to ventilation. Death rates were sharply reduced. It is directly through her thorough observations that the association linking sanitary conditions and healing became recognized and established. “Within 6 months of her arrival in Scutari, the mortality rate dropped from 42 percent to 2.2 percent“. Florence insisted on adequate lighting, diet, hygiene, and activity. “She understood even then that the mind and body worked together, that cleanliness, the predecessor to our clean and sterile techniques of today, was a major barrier to infection, and that it promoted healing”.
Nightingale continued believing the death rates were due to poor nutrition and supplies and overworking of the soldiers. It was not until after she returned to Britain and began collecting evidence before the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army that she came to believe that most of the soldiers at the hospital were killed by poor living conditions. This experience influenced her later career, when she advocated sanitary living conditions as of great importance. Consequently, she reduced deaths in the army during peacetime and turned attention to the sanitary design of hospitals.
Nightingale returned to Britain a heroine on 7 August 1856, and, according to the BBC, was arguably the most famous Victorian after Queen Victoria herself. Nightingale moved from her family home in Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire, to the Burlington Hotel in Piccadilly, where she was stricken by a fever, probably due to a chronic form of brucellosis ("Crimean fever") that she contracted during the Crimean war. She barred her mother and sister from her room and rarely left it.
In response to an invitation from Queen Victoria – and despite the limitations of confinement to her room – Nightingale played the central role in the establishment of the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, of which Sidney Herbert became chairman. As a woman, Nightingale could not be appointed to the Royal Commission, but she wrote the commission's 1,000-plus page report, that included detailed statistical reports, and she was instrumental in the implementation of its recommendations. The report led to a major overhaul of army military care, and to the establishment of an Army Medical School and of a comprehensive system of army medical records.

(Source Wikipedia)