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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy



During this period of operations 6 ADS functioned with two medical officers only. This was adequate under normal circumstances, but on one occasion when a considerable number of patients, some of them seriously ill, arrived at the same time, some could not be attended to as promptly as the medical officers wished. It was considered that three medical officers were essential to an ADS in action.

As a brigaded ADS making quick moves, the ADS on several occasions had difficulty in finding any MDS or CCS to which it could evacuate casualties. Some evacuations were made direct to a British CCS which had been located first.

The frequent moves of the field ambulance units during this short campaign are well illustrated by the story of one of the ADSs. At first it operated in a palatial mansion at San Casciano for three days, then shifted to a small school at Massandia for less than two days, dealing with twenty-three casualties. The next location was a large, modern Fascist school at Scandicci, where the unit remained two days. Evacuation was very difficult, necessitating jeep transport and a car post further back. Then a spacious storeroom of a building was used at Poppiano Nuovo and, later, part of a luxurious house belonging to a local doctor at Monterapolli. Casualties there were numerous. The company was then withdrawn and treated sick cases at Ligliano.

Altogether during this period over 200 battle casualties and nearly 200 sick were treated. Blood was drawn from five donors in the unit to supplement the supplies and eighteen patients were given blood or plasma. The personnel had been organised into three teams, each made up as follows: nursing NCO, evacuation NCO, resuscitation orderly, injections orderly, drinks orderly, two dressing orderlies, clerk, pack-store orderly, and three stretcher-bearers. Each team was able to operate independently.