Florence Nightingale

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history
Jump to: navigation, search
Florence Nightingale.png

Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910) was a British nurse who is considered the founder of modern nursing. She was affectionately called "The Lady with a Lamp" referring to how she carried an oil lamp during hospital night rounds.[1][2]

In 1854, Nightingale and approximately 38 other female nurses were dispatched to the main British military camp on the Black Sea during the Crimean War in order to nurse wounded and sick soldiers. They concentrated on providing clean quarters and linens, healthy food, improved air circulation and waste disposal, as well as increasing medical supplies. Death rates in the military camps dropped sharply and people of Britain embraced her as a hero. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross in 1883. In 1907, she was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit, Britain's highest civilian decoration.[3]

While stationed in Crimea, Nightingale developed "Crimean fever" (a bacteria infection now known as brucellosis) and never recovered.[4] She remained mostly bedbound the rest of her life. Although myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were not defined in her lifetime, many current physicians and medical historians believe she developed ME/CFS as a result of a chronic brucellosis infection.
"In 1854, from the age thirty-five to sixty-years, Florence Nightingale was reported as suffering from chest pains, headaches, rapid muscle fatigue, persistent upper back pain, and being unable to concentrate if more than one person was present."[5]

Despite being bed-bound, Nightingale continued until her death to work on advancing the nursing profession and lobbying for regulatory changes to hospitals. She met with government officials in her home and wrote thousands of letters to promote nursing reform.[6] Nursing pins designed with lamps are common throughout the world in order to honor Nightingale and her advancement of the profession of nursing.[7] The pledge that nurses take upon graduation is called the "Nightingale Pledge" which is analogous to the physician's Hippocratic Oath.[8]

Some ME/CFS organizations use Nightingale's name to commemorate her struggle with chronic illness. In 1988, Dr. Byron Hyde named his Canadian ME and CFS foundation, Nightingale Research Foundation:
"Disability does not mean the end to a useful life - we called our foundation Nightingale since many sufferers of M.E. and CFS typify the courage and dedication of Florence Nightingale and continue to live their lives under enormous disabilities."[9]

Nightingale's birthday, May 12th, was chosen as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases.[10]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.