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'One of the wards of the Hospital at Scutari', print, London, England, 1856

Scutari military hospital, near Istanbul, Turkey, was used for the treatment of wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856). The image shows Florence Nightingale’s influence on the hospital which previously saw wounded men lying on dirty, bare boards, cramped and neglected. (She is perhaps the woman in blue to the right of the image.) It was reported that within two years her regime dramatically reduced the death rate of soldiers in the hospital from forty per cent to two per cent. Recent research suggests that the death rate actually rose during the beginning of Nightingale’s stay as she believed that poor nutrition and exhaustion were causing the high mortality rate instead of diseases such as cholera, typhus and dysentery. The death rate only dropped after a commission was sent out six months after her arrival. As well as improving ventilation, the commission ordered sewers to be cleaned, thus preventing the spread of these water-borne diseases.

Object number:

1987-199

Glossary:

Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: typhus

A severe and often fatal infectious disease. It is transmitted mainly by body lice. Its symptoms are high fever, stupor, intense headache, and a dark red rash.

Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.

Glossary: dysentery

Infectious disease with symptoms including diarrhoea, bleeding, and abdominal cramps. It spreads in contaminated food and water, especially in the tropics.

Glossary: lithograph

Prints made using the process of lithography - a method for printing using a plate or stone with a completely smooth surface.