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War Surgery and Medicine


page 628


Nearly 50 per cent of the ‘ulcer like’ and nervous dyspeptics were eventually regraded. Regraded men included the patient who was classified as a hopeless neurotic from the beginning, the patient whose symptoms recurred during convalescence, and the patient who after returning to his unit was again evacuated to hospital. Some regraded men of all types improved while performing lighter duties under more favourable conditions at the Base, but it is probable that over half of them continued to have symptoms. A quarter of these men had eventually to be returned to New Zealand—though the follow-up was not complete—and this applied especially to the nervous dyspeptic whose longing for home, once he had been regraded as unfit for the field, became intensified. This state of mind was greatly aggravated by boredom and lack of congenial occupation. His complaints increased in variety and intensity until he was sent home. It was fortunate that we were able to evacuate men of this type, for not only did their suitable employment create a difficult problem, but they were a bad influence amongst the troops at the Base.