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WWI - Army Health

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BerichtGeplaatst: 05 Okt 2010 20:21    Onderwerp: WWI - Army Health Reageer met quote

WWI - Army Health

Injured soldiers often faced a perilous road to recovery on the warfront. Trench warfare, along with the development of improved technologies, drastically increased soldiersí capability to inflict damage upon their enemies. The American Red Cross organized aid at home. Members knitted for soldiers, and produced sewn bandages and pajamas.

At the onset of war, 562 Red Cross chapters existed with approximately 500,000 members. By the end of the war, the organization had over 3,700 chapters and 31,000,000 members. Of the 23,822 Red Cross nurses enrolled during the war, 19,931 were assigned to active duty with the military, U.S Public Health service, and the Red Cross overseas. Some Red Cross nursesí aides were also deployed on the home front to make up for the shortage due to the war.

The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 further complicated health matters. The outbreak reached enormous proportions, with some expertsí estimating that nearly 100 million people were killed by the disease. Hospitals became breeding grounds for disease. Spanish flu took a heavy toll, leaving the population even further decimated at the close of the war.

A group of Americans living in Paris took it upon themselves to establish a hospital at Neuilly, France in 1914. To staff the hospital, they pushed American universities to form surgical units that would rotate every three months. Some of the men involved began to push for a medical preparedness drive back home in the United States, so that more hospitals could be created. Colonel W. C. Gorgas, the surgeon general and head of the Army Medical Corps, was supportive of this idea, but at that point the American Red Cross became involved and said that because the U.S. was not at war, they should be responsible for organizing aid abroad. After negotiating, the two groups compromised by allowing the Red Cross to organize base hospitals with the commissioned/enlisted men of the Army Medical Reserve Corps as personnel. By April 1917, the Red Cross had already organized 33 base hospitals. Soon after U.S. entry, the British claimed that they needed doctors desperately. Six base hospitals were immediately mobilized and were sent to aid the British. The Americans took over the some of the already organized British base hospitals and went to work saving lives. The British base hospitals were typically located near the coast and close to a railroad, so that casualties could arrive easily. Port locations were also important, so that men who needed further treatment could be evacuated. The base hospitals were large facilities, often made out of preexisting buildings like seaside hotels. To staff a base hospital, typically about 265 people were required and over 100 of these were Red Cross nurses. The Red Cross base hospitals that were organized served as the backbone American hospital service in France during WWI.

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