Four Miles Of Beds
In 1854, just after the Crimean War between England and Russia broke out, a young nurse named Florence Nightingale read reports of the horrid conditions in British medical hospitals. On Nov. 4 of that year, she organized a group of 38 female nurses and set off for Scutari, a suburb of Constantinople. Florence was horrified with what she and the other nurses saw: 10,000 sick soldiers living in dirty, bug-infested wards without food, water, clothing or a bed to sleep on. On this date in 1854, she wrote, "We now have four miles of beds, and not eighteen inches apart." Until 1856, Nightingale cared for the men while raising money for the hospital. When she returned home to England, Queen Victoria sent Nightingale a diamond brooch with the inscription, "Blessed are the Merciful."
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