The diagnosis that wasn't

Brucellosis and Psychology: Nightingale’s “depression.”
by Hugh Small
Paper presented at ‘Florence Nightingale. Influence & Inspiration’, Embley 14 July 2010
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Summary: It is sometimes claimed that brucellosis caused Florence Nightingale to suffer from chronic depression from 1857 until 1880. Dr D A B Young’s paper, usually quoted as evidence, does not support the theory or make any such claim. Depression has been said to explain and excuse the alleged cold, cruel, heartless, irritable, and tyrannical behaviour of which she has been accused by detractors, but these are not recognized symptoms either of brucellosis or of depression. Although Young mentions these alleged traits in his article, he does not refer to them as symptoms of illness or link them with brucellosis in any way. Recognised symptoms of depression would have reduced Nightingale’s ability to think or concentrate, an impairment which is not in evidence in the period.
To download the rest of this paper in pdf format click here.
Link to Dr. D A B Young’s paper on Florence Nightingale’s Fever

6 Aug 2010 22.50

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