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War Surgery and Medicine

Arrangements in Middle East

Arrangements in Middle East

In the period prior to the attachment of the specially trained officers to our hospitals our New Zealand maxillo-facial cases were referred for treatment to special British units attached to British general hospitals, where they were retained till their definitive treatment had been carried out and they were ready for transfer to one of our own hospitals, either preparatory to return to duty or for evacuation to New Zealand. Close contact with the British units and our patients under their charge was kept by our surgeons and consultants, thus ensuring full co-operation and the best form of initial treatment by our units in the forward areas, as well as the referring of all suitable cases to the special units whose help was valued very highly by us. It was determined early that only the minimum of wound treatment should be carried out in the forward page 361 areas on maxillo-facial cases, as better results followed from treatment by the special units at the Base. Dentists with special aptitude and equipment were on the staffs of the Field Ambulances and CCS and were thus able to carry out the initial treatment satisfactorily.

It was decided by 2 NZEF early in the war in the Middle East that only those cases which could be quickly and simply returned to their units should be treated overseas. Other cases requiring long-range surgery were given their preliminary treatment in the Middle East and prepared for evacuation to New Zealand, where a special unit was set up to deal with them.