Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

Print this window

Close this window

Base Hospital 21 patients, waiting for x-ray or surgery, Rouen, France
Base Hospital 21 developed different methods for admitting and treating the wounded than those used previously by the British General Hospital. The British had taken the stretcher wounded directly to hospital wards, where they were bathed and reclothed, and then seen by a doctor (often the next morning). The Washington University doctors realized the benefits of expediting diagnosis and treatment of the wounded. Instead of being sent to hospital wards, the stretcher wounded were first sent to the X-ray hut. After the examiner classified the seriousness of the wound, the patient would be sent to an adjoining operating room, where a surgeon and internist made a final assignment. Emergency cases required immediate surgery. Less serious cases were deferred until the emergency load cleared.