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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Medical Arrangements for Attack

Medical Arrangements for Attack

For the attack on the Senio 6 Field Ambulance, supplemented by 4 Field Ambulance surgical team, was to be open for battle casualties. Evacuation was to be to 1 Mobile CCS in Forli and thence by NZ Section MAC to 1 General Hospital at Senigallia. Fifth Field Ambulance was open in Forli for sickness cases. On 4 April 4 Field Ambulance moved to an area near Forli, where it was under canvas for the first time since September 1944. A surgical unit and operating centre were temporarily attached to 6 MDS at Prada and the remainder of 4 Field Ambulance remained in reserve.

map showing medical support of military operation

Forli to Trieste: Line of advance and positions of Medical Units (wef: with effect from)

page 651

For the attack 6 MDS was sited in one of the farm buildings scattered along the road leading to the Lamone River, which was about 500 yards away. The farm building was small and the outbuildings useless. There were only four useful rooms on the ground floor and an attached lean-to, the latter being used by the reception section. The theatre was in a room a little too small but quite sound, and sterilising had to be done in a passage. Across the passage in what had been a cookhouse, a room was prepared for the 4 Field Ambulance theatre team, the door being widened a little to take stretchers. The resuscitation section was in an old ox-stall. It was roomy and quite sound, had a clean brick floor, and already contained a Becchi stove, to which were added two kerosene heaters for warmth. Stretcher bays were contrived in the existing cattle stalls, which might almost have been designed for the purpose. Three tarpaulins were pitched outside on a broken-brick base to house the evacuation section, the pre-operation ward, and walking wounded. Later, another was erected for wounded prisoners of war. A car-park was formed by a bulldozer in a field alongside the MDS building and was paved with bricks. A circuit road in, bridging a ditch, was made by the engineers. So organised, the unit was prepared to handle a large number of casualties.

The MDS was to do only minor and toilet surgery, except for life-saving amputations and treatment of massive haemorrhages. The 1st Mobile CCS was quite near at Forli, a short trip over good roads, and the principal function of the MDS was to take the strain off the operating teams at the CCS. Light cases requiring no further immediate surgery than that performed at the MDS were to be evacuated direct to 1 General Hospital at Senigallia, minor sick and exhaustion cases to 5 MDS at Forli, and only severely wounded to the CCS. Fourth Field Ambulance joined 6 MDS on the morning of 9 April.