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War Surgery and Medicine

Analysis of Work Done at 1 NZ General Hospital Laboratory During Thirty-one Months at Helwan

Analysis of Work Done at 1 NZ General Hospital Laboratory During Thirty-one Months at Helwan

This analysis is based on the monthly reports furnished to the Deputy Director of Pathology, Middle East, and is set out in full month by month in the following table. The graph shows the fluctuation of work, relating it to the monthly admissions.

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Following is the total of specimens examined in thirty-one months under the various headings in the monthly reports:

Specimens Examined
Enteric group fevers 3613
Dysentery 9113
Helminthiasis 396
Malaria 5906
Other protozoology 7
Relapsing fever 128
Undulant fever 42
Typhus fever 25
Throat swabs 2927
Sputa 2329
Pus, skin scales, etc. 814
Wound infections 678
Venereal disease 10353
Biochemistry 1865
Vaccines made 139
Blood counts 11169
Puncture fluids 739
Urines 5919
Food, milk, water 355
Histological sections 569
Post-mortems 139
Blood-grouping 725
Grand total 57,950

Consideration of the above figures shows:


That the average number of specimens examined per month fell little short of 2000. The average figure for Christchurch Hospital over a two-year period (1948–50) was approximately 3000.

The staff at 1 NZ General Hospital was 5 technicians, most of whom were partly trained; the staff at Christchurch Hospital during the above period was 17, trained or in training.


That about one-third of the work done arose from tropical diseases.


Work arising from battle casualties made only a small contribution (about 6 per cent) to the total (wound infections, part of blood counts and blood grouping).


A relatively small amount of biochemical work. Nevertheless, a wide range of chemical work was undertaken to provide all the tests normally available in a public hospital. This branch of the work is certain to show a large increase in any future war, and will require the services of a properly trained biochemist.


A high figure for tests under venereal disease: this was largely due to the laboratory undertaking serological tests for VD Treatment Centres in a large area.

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chart of health statistics