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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Work at 2 General Hospital

Work at 2 General Hospital

The hospital opened at Caserta at the beginning of February and during that month was busier than in any month since June 1941, 1286 cases being admitted. The patients were evacuated from 1 NZ CCS and from the field ambulances by motor ambulance in one and a half to two hours. The wounded arrived in good condition and the cleanliness of the wounds was commented upon. There was a striking difference in the state of the wounds of some who were forty hours or longer before being surgically treated as compared with those who were treated within a few hours. The former were invariably infected and the latter almost always very clean. Penicillin was being used locally and sulphonamides orally in the forward areas. In soft-tissue wounds delayed primary suture was undertaken at Caserta with success in a great number of the cases, at first without penicillin. The percentage of cases sutured steadily increased and compound fracture cases, especially of the arms, were also subjected to delayed suture, either sulphathiazole or penicillin being used locally. A case of tetanus was reported. The patient survived after large doses of antitoxin.

There was a general freedom from severe infection in the majority of the cases, including injuries to joints, and chest cases progressed well following aspiration and the instillation of penicillin into the pleural cavity. Burn cases were dealt with by saline bath treatment. An improvised unit of two baths was set up and personnel were trained specially for the work. Good results were obtained, and when penicillin became available it was freely given to these cases.

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