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Do you agree with the view that Mary Seacole, and not Florence Nightingale, was the real “angel of mercy” in the Crimea? I perceive that the claim that Mary Seacole was in fact more useful, brave and a greater figure of inspiration for the British soldiers than Florence Nightingale is correct. Although contempories gave all the official credit to Nightingale, racial prejudices may well have influenced this. Seacole did receive praise from men well positioned to view her real effectiveness such as William Russell. The fact that Seacole was at the scene of the war and all its hardships, as highlighted in source V, also means she fulfills the term angel of mercy more than Nightingale in Scutari. It can be surmised from the idyllic…show more content…
Source V is almost wholly positive about Seacoles involvement in the Crimea. However, she was criticised by Nightingale herself of running her “British hotel” as a “bad house”. Although this seems to be mere slander there was the sale of alcohol and many other items which suggests Seacole was in the Crimea for ulterior motives. These claims fail to mention that she returned to the Crimea with less money than she arrived with due to the cost of the journey and buying of medical equipment for the soldiers. Aspersions can also be cast over Seacole’s real prowess as a doctor. She learned her herbal medicines from her mother and didn’t have any of the standard medical education of Nightingale. Despite this her methods may well have been just as effective, if not more so as standard methods were not particularly advanced and all reports, including that of Russell, praised her healing skills. In conclusion, Nightingale was undoubtedly fully committed to her role of running the Scutari hospital in the Crimea. However death rates remained high as her failure to identify the poor sanitation as the cause of this cost thousands of lives. Despite rejection and shabby treatment by Nightingale, Seacole showed total dedication and determination to serve in the Crimea. Once there she associated a lot more with the men and unlike Nightingale
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