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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mobile hospitals, Surgical teams, X-ray trucks, Sterilizers and more!

US Ambulance, circa WWI, holds 4 men!
How do you best save wounded men if:

1. they are sometimes carried by 4-6 stretcher bearers for 1 mile or more before getting to ambulance

2. they must travel over muddy, shell-warped lanes for 3 to 5 miles back of line to get to a sterilized operating room

3. only at night, lest the enemy see the ambulance line during the daylight and bomb them

4. in ambulances that hold either four or eight

5. with only barest field dressings on utterly horrific head, chest and intestinal areas

6. with limited morphine pills

7. not enough front line surgeons

8. who have limited facilities (surgical supplies, no needles, no ether, no nurses, orderlies only...)

The United States Army Medical Corps answered these challenges by creating mobile hospital units. These teams of expert surgeons, nurses and orderlies formed 7-member teams who volunteered to go directly in back of the front lines of Doughboys.

US Army Mobile X-Ray truck, WWI
These men and women were screened to be the most professional, stable, healthy individuals who had proven their resilience and talents in the first months that Americans had gone abroad. Then, as the need for medical teams to be much closer to the wounded became vital, mobile surgical units were created.

Composed of one surgeon, one assistant, two nurses, one nurse anesthetist and two orderlies, this team would receive a wounded man and immediately operate on him.

To ensure that this occurred within minutes, the mobile unit also consisted of admitting officers who were trained in triage, x-ray technicians and ambulance drivers who took the post-op patients and transported them farther down the line to another mobile unit or a larger facility, also mobile, called an evacuation hospital.

Want to read about one in action in the Meuse-Argonne in November 1918 during the Big Push?
Read HEROIC MEASURES, out now.
In there, you see how the main character, Gwen Spencer from Scranton Pennsylvania joins a mobile surgical unit and survives the rigorous PUSH in The Great War.

A group of trucks in a mobile unit would pull into a clearing and go to work!
This was their configuration.

Even men of the ambulance units had to pause to line up and get a bath! Note that water had
"to be carried several blocks an coal is scarce. Rambillard, France, Oct. 23, 1918

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the information. This site helped me on a school a signment