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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

The Work of the CCS

The Work of the CCS

The school taken over by the CCS at Vasto was a three-storied building in the centre of the town. The personnel were quartered in several buildings nearby. Accommodation in the school allowed page 516 for 120 beds, with a crisis expansion of sixty stretchers in corridors. There were spacious rooms and wide passages, but the need to carry stretchers up and down stairs was a serious drawback. There was a constant, large turnover of patients and, though the greater part of the major surgery had been already carried out at the MDS, 338 cases were operated on during December, 312 being battle casualties. The large majority of the cases were soft-tissue wounds and fractures. The total admissions during December were 1461. The majority of the patients were evacuated early to Termoli, but a small number of seriously ill patients, mainly chests and abdomens, were retained till they were fit for further transport.

A surgical team from 3 General Hospital was attached for a short time and then replaced by 8 British FSU, a British FTU being also added. Both units were of great assistance to us, but it was felt that we should have provided our own forward operating units, especially as the experience gained in this work was very valuable to those working normally at base hospitals. It was the type of work sought after by our own medical officers, who would possibly have felt more content in the inevitable lulls when surgical work was small in quantity and rather unimportant in character. The provision of an extra surgical team from the Base would have enabled us to carry on, except in times of great stress, without the help of British teams. An extra FTU was also required at the CCS.