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Florence Nightingale gets no respect: as a statistician that is
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  1. D Neuhauser
  1. Professor of Management, The Charles Elton Blanchard School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945, USA; drn@cwru.edu

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    Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) can be seen looking demure on a British bank note—a most respectable place to have one’s portrait displayed. She is known today as the founder of modern nursing, but is ignored as a healthcare research methodologist of the highest skill. She was a “passionate statistician”, responsible for the most remarkable hospital quality improvement project ever carried out and, as shown by her careful quantitative documentation, of both the process and outcomes of care.

    The central event of her life was her care improvements at Scutari Hospital in Turkey during the Crimean War of 1854–6. In this unnecessary but popular war the British, with their French and Turkish allies, fought the Russians to a standstill on the Crimean peninsula on the north shore of the Black Sea. The incompetence of the British generals is remembered today through the bravery and folly of the “The charge of the Light Brigade”. Leo Tolstoy wrote of even worse muddle on the Russian side.

    British soldiers wounded on the Crimean battlefields were put on transport ships and taken across the Black Sea primarily to Scutari Hospital near Constantinople/Istanbul. When they landed there they were still in the uniforms …

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