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Flashcards in The Western Front Deck (10):

The evacuation route- stage 1

Stretcher bearers- these would advance on no mans land at night or during breaks of fighting to collect the dead and wounded.

Each battalion had sixteen stretcher bearers and it took four men to carry a stretcher.


The evacuation route- stage 2

Regimented aid posts:

The RAP was always close to the front line.

The batik ion regimental medical officer was situated here.

He identified those who were lightly wounded and the soldiers who needed to move on for further treatment.


The evacuation route- stage 3

The field ambulance and the dressing station.

A field ambulance was a large mobile medical unit with medical officers, support staff and nurses. It picked up wounded soldiers from the battlefield field and took them back the the aid posts and dressing stations.

The dressing station-was where emergency treatment was given to the wounded.

They were about a mile behind the front line and this was where the more and less seriously injured were separated.


The evacuation route- stage 4

The casualty clearing station.

This was the first large well equipped medical unit that the wounded would experience.

The ccs contained x-Ray machines and wards with beds.


The evacuation route- stage 5

Base hospitals.

This was usually a civilian hotspots or a converter building.

Soldiers would arrive by train, motor ambulance or by canal.

They had operating theatres, x-Ray machines and specialist areas for gas poisoning.

From the base hospital, most soldiers were sent back to Britain in hospital trains.


The Thomas splint

Men with a gunshot or shrapnel wound only had a twenty percent chance of survival in 1915.

The splint that was used originally to transport men didn't keep the leg rigid.

From 1916, the Thomas splint was used, which stopped two joints moving and increased the survival rates from fractures to 82%.



X-Ray's enabled a surgeon to carry out a diagnosis before an operation took place and would prove useful on the western front.

They were used to locate bullets and shrapnel. These needed to to be removed from wounds to prevent infection.


Plastic surgery

A New Zealand doctor, Harold Gilles, was sent to the western front in 1915. He became interested in facial reconstruction- replacing and restoring parts of the face that had been destroyed by weapons of war.

Skin grafts were developed, where skin was taken from another part of the patients body and used to repair the wound.


Blood transfusions and the storage of blood.

Blood loss was a major problem in surgery. As blood couldn't be stored, it had to be used as soon as possible.

Transfusions were carried out with the donor being directly connected by a tube to the recipient.

However, there was danger of infection from unsterilised equipment but this was solved with the introduction of aspheric surgery.

Blood transfusions were introduced at base hospitals by the British on the western front from 1915.



All medical officers belonged to the RAMC.

The membership increased from 9000 in 1914 to 113,000 in 1918 as the number of wounded grew.

Doctors had to learn quickly about conditions and wounds they had never faced before.