The Sisters take over
in Beyond Nightingale
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Pirogov and the other principal surgeon, Christian Hübbenet, soon became highly dependent on the Sisters because they were so much more competent than the untrained local women. Pirogov divided the Sisters into three groups, surgical nurses, pharmacists, and housekeepers, and placed them in charge of hospital administration. He also introduced his famous triage, saving many more lives. Hard work and typhus soon decimated the Sisters and a number died. By early spring many doctors, including Pirogov, also fell ill and some died. A major problem now developed among the Sisters. They played mean tricks on each other and there was a great deal of infighting which Pirogov and the senior Sisters were unable to stop. Constant trench warfare, the sorties that the Russians sent into the allied trenches, and the increasingly lethal allied bombardment kept the Sisters and doctors working under fire at an inhuman pace. Pirogov and Hübbenet were amazed by the Sisters’ selflessness and their courage and coolness under direct fire, which the doctors at first thought quite uncharacteristic of women. Pirogov now taught the able nurses to do specific medical procedures, some of which Hübbenet thought they did better than the doctors.

Beyond Nightingale

Nursing on the Crimean War battlefields

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