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Chapter XIII

Contents

CHAPTER XIII

DEMOBILIZATION

Immediately subsequent to the signing of the armistice, it was possible to consider a readjustment of the hospital program. Two principal factors influenced this readjustment-the number of sick and wounded in France, for which hospital beds in the United States would have to be reserved; and the rate of demobilization of the troops in the United States. Both factors were further influenced by subsidiary conditions; that is, the rate of return of patients from abroad and the changing number of available beds in the hospitals of the United States.

The rapid demobilization of reserve troops in the United States released thousands of beds in the cantonment hospitals and made it possible to designate hospitals, at the camps to be abandoned, for overseas patients. This permitted the first step in retrenchment-the practical abandonment of all procurement projects not yet begun or completed.1

All hospitals not designated for overseas patients were reduced in capacity and personnel at intervals during the demobilization period, as circumstances warranted.1

After the first few months of 1919, during which the greater number of sick and wounded from France was returned home,2 and the pressure became less acute, the policy was adopted of abandoning as rapidly as possible all leased properties, and concentrating activities, so far as possible, in Government­owned property. By the end of May, 1919, most hospitals on leased properties had been discontinued.3

About the 1st of May the sending of overseas patients to the base hospitals at the camps was stopped.1 This was done to permit the limitation of the activities of these hospitals to camp necessities, which was made possible by the fact that there was no longer a necessity for the conservation of space in general hospitals. Later, in June, the overseas sick at base hospitals in camps, requiring prolonged treatment, were transferred to general hospitals; so that by the end of June, the hospitals at camps were caring for practically only the sick of the camp commands.

There had been a coincident gradual reduction in the number of general hospitals. On May 24, 1919, the following hospitals were selected as being those possessing the greatest probable degree of permanence:1

Hospital

Location

Date abandoned

Army and Navy General Hospital

Hot Springs, Ark.

 

Letterman General Hospital

San Francisco, Calif.

 

General Hospital No. 6

Fort McPherson, Ga.

 

General Hospital No. 19

Oteen, N.C.

 

General Hospital No. 26

Fort Des Moines, Iowa

Oct. 15, 1919

General Hospital No. 31

Carlisle, Pa.

 

Department Base Hospital

Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

 


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Those which follow were selected as the next most permanent hospitals which would operate for a sufficient time after July 1, 1919, to care for the greater number of chronic cases remaining in hospitals:1

Hospitals

Location

Date abandoned

General Hospital

Fort Bayard, N. Mex.

 

General Hospital No. 2

Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md.

Oct. 15, 1919

General Hospital No. 3

Colonia, N.J.

Do.

General Hospital No. 8

Otisville, N.Y.

Nov. 15, 1919

General Hospital No. 20

Whipple Barracks, Ariz.

 

General Hospital No. 28

Fort Sheridan, Ill.

 

General Hospital No. 30

Plattsburg, N.Y.

Sept. 30, 1919

General Hospital No. 41

Fox Hills, Staten Island, N.Y.

 

General Hospital No. 42

Spartanburg, S.C.

Oct. 10, 1919

General Hospital No. 43

Hampton, Va.

 

Base Hospital

Fort Riley, Kans,

 

While circumstances developed from time to time necessitating changes in the decisions in reference to the hospitals, as has been indicated by showing in the above tables the dates when the hospitals were abandoned prior to the end of 1919, in the main the plan was adhered to.

The most important considerations which influenced the abandonment or retention of hospitals were adequate care, economy of personnel, location in reference to population, and cost of maintenance.

In cooperation with the United States Public Health Service, which was charged with the care and treatment of discharged soldiers and sailors who became beneficiaries of the War Risk Insurance Bureau,4 the War Department had turned over to the Public Health Service, by July 30, 1919, the following hospitals intact:5

Hospital

Bed capacity

Hospital

Bed capacity

Base Hospital, Camp Beauregard, La.

2,144

General Hospital No. 13, Dansville, N.Y.

288

Base Hospital, Camp Cody, Deming, N. Mex.

1,289

General Hospital No. 15, Corpus Christi, Tex.

262

Base Hospital, Camp Fremont, S. C.

1,156

General Hospital, No. 24, Parkview, Pa.

700

Base Hospital, Camp Hancock, Ga.

1,604

General Hospital No. 34, East Norfolk, Mass.

350

Base Hospital, Camp Joseph E. Johnston, Fla.

816

General Hospital No. 40, St. Louis, Mo.

531

Base Hospital, Camp Logan, Tex.

1,156

Norwegian Deaconessess Hospital, Brooklyn, N. Y.

250

Base Hospital, Camp Logan, Tex.

1,396

Total

13,222

General Hospital No. 10, Boston, Mass.

750

A priority schedule for abandoning some hospitals and reducing beds in others was tentatively prepared on August 18, 1919, when there were 33,414 beds available in general hospitals.6 At that time it was planned to hold permanently 3,750 beds in general hospitals as follows:

Hospital

War capacity

Reduction

Designated permanent capacity

Walter Reed General Hospital, Takoma Park, D.C.

2,000

500

1,500

Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif.

2,200

1,500

700

Army and Navy General Hospital, Hot Springs, Ark.

266

16

250

General Hospital No. 19, Oteen, N. C.

1,300

800

500

General Hospital No. 21, Denver, Colo.

1,603

803

800

Total

7,369

3,619

3,750

This reduction was gradually effected until by October 30, 1920, the number of available beds had been reduced to 3,750.7


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REFERENCES

(1) Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, 1919, Vol. II, 1159.

(2) Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U. S. Navy, 1919, 48.

(3) Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, 1920, 259.

(4) Bull. No. 9, W. D., March 3, 1919 .

(5) Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, 1919, Vol. II, 1160.

(6) Tentative priority schedule for abandonment and reduction in general hospitals. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 323.72-3.

(7) Bed Report, October 29, 1920. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 705.1 (Admission to Hospital), General.

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