Stretchers; the Story of a Hospital Unit on the Western Front

Stretchers; the Story of a Hospital Unit on the Western Front

Stretchers; the Story of a Hospital Unit on the Western Front

Stretchers; the Story of a Hospital Unit on the Western Front

Excerpt

In presenting to the public the war history of a small and little-known hospital unit, it is perhaps prudent to offer something in the way of apology. Few people have ever heard of an evacuation hospital or have any notion as to the kind of work it did. Dressing stations, field hospitals, and base hospitals are well known, at least by name, because of their appearance in popular fiction, but the evacuation hospital or casualty clearing station has as yet received no such attention. And at a time when so many good books dealing with the more thrilling adventures of combatant troops are appearing, it may well be questioned why anyone should be asked to read the story of an army hospital at all.

I have ventured for two reasons to address this book to a wider public than the membership of the unit whose history it records. The first is that I have always found people interested in authentic information about war surgery. And, as far as I know, there has not yet appeared any work of a popular nature which presents a detailed and reliable account of the surgical care of American wounded during the World War. Five months' service in the operating room of a busy evacuation hospital enabled me at least to witness a good deal of the practice of war surgery, for the evacuation hospital was the place where the majority of the wounded men received their first definitive surgical treatment. Being a layman with no previous experience in such matters, I was perhaps better able than a professional surgeon to observe and record those features of the work which the ordinary man must be given . . .

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