New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy
Beds were provided in the field ambulances at the time of Alamein, enabling serious cases to be nursed adequately in the field units. Copious fluids were given, if possible by the mouth. The abdominal cases were nursed in Fowler's position and chest cases also sat up as soon as possible. Close attention was given to the skin and also to seeing that plasters were not constricting the limbs. Sedatives such as paraldehyde were given to head cases.
Chests: If respiratory distress was marked, tapping was performed with air displacement in the first twenty-four hours. In First Army early, frequent, and thorough evacuation of the haemothorax was done with good results.
Abdomens: Treatment was stabilised in: (a) applying continuous gastric suction by means of a blood-taking set inverted and filled with water, so acting as a suction apparatus; (b) giving continuous intravenous fluid, glucose, and glucose saline, about 8–10 pints a day; (c) using Fowler's position; (d) holding the patient in the unit where operation had been performed for a period of ten to fourteen days before evacuation; (e) nursing on beds; (f) giving of fluid by the mouth in small quantities; (g) continuing suction for about four days and then shutting it off gradually. (Suction was not required for so long in large bowel cases.)
General Cases: Further resuscitation, especially transfusion of blood, was often required.