Florence Nightingale

A Letter from Scutari

This letter was donated by the family of Florence Nightingale to the School of Nursing of the University of California at San Francisco, which has kindly allowed us to reproduce it. In most cases in her writings FN made two copies, one to mail and one to keep for records. I assume she did so in last letters home.

FN was a very accurate statistician and she states that during the first winter of her stay in the Barrack Hospital she attended to 2,000 deaths. This letter is an example of what we assume is always done today but was never done then. Often before Miss Nightingale's systems were in place the only note made by anyone was "one man died." The whole notion of staying with the dying soldier until death and writing last words home and transferring last monies, momentos, etc. was all started by FN. The strain of the 2,000 deaths must have been a big part of her PTSD.

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