Louisa Jordan: The war nurse inspiring coronavirus battle

Sister Louisa Jordan died on active service in Serbia during the First World War.

Hospital: Facility named after WWI nurse. Scotland
Hospital: Facility named after WWI nurse.

A temporary hospital being created at the SEC in Glasgow to tackle coronavirus has been named after a First World War nurse.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the medical facility will be named after Sister Louisa Jordan, who died on active service in Serbia in 1915.

The Glaswegian provided much-needed care to an area which was in dire need as part of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Services. 

Born in Maryhill in 1878, Louisa Jordan worked as a nurse at Crumpsall Infirmary in Manchester and returned to Scotland to work in Shotts Fever Hospital.

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She signed up to the war effort in December 1914 while working as a Queen’s nurse in Buckhaven, Fife. 

Louisa was sent to Kraguievac in Serbia, a city 100 miles south of Belgrade and even though fighting at the time was minimal, Serbia was short of medical facilities. 

The nurse got stuck in to helping the wounded, but soon an outbreak of typhus broke out in the city.

‘This hospital is a fitting tribute to her service and her courage.’

Jeane Freeman, Health Secretary

Louisa died of typhus in Serbia on March 6, 1915, aged 36, and is buried in Chela Kula Military Cemetery.

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She is commemorated on the Buckhaven War Memorial and at Wilton Church in Glasgow. 

The people of Serbia gather each year to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of Sister Jordan and her colleagues.

Ms Freeman said: “Sister Louisa Jordan, born just a couple of miles north of the SEC in Glasgow’s Maryhill, served with great bravery and distinction in the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Serbia during WWI. 

“She is a person who has perhaps up until now been better remembered in Serbia than in Scotland. This hospital is a fitting tribute to her service and her courage.

“I want to thank the many clinical, operational and construction staff who have been on site at the SEC alongside the army, developing this new temporary hospital. 

“Their work will ensure that, if required, this facility will provide extra capacity for NHS Scotland.

“I hope this new hospital will not be needed – but we must prepare for every eventuality. 

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“The public’s contributed efforts to stay at home, in addition to the other measures implemented and the steps we are already taking to increase capacity within existing hospitals are all aimed at making sure NHS Scotland can cope with the expected surge in patients. NHS Louisa Jordan will ensure there is even further capacity if needed.” 

The emergency facility announced by the First Minister on Monday will be run by NHS Scotland.

It will initially create capacity for 300 extra hospital beds, with the ability to expand to over 1000 if required.

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