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Chapter I

Contents

CHAPTER I

Introduction

           
The combat experience in the Mediterranean area lasted from November 1942 until May 1945. During this period of approximately 30 months, battle casualties were treated by the officers of the United States Army Medical Corps in the various echelons of the theater. Casualties were often heavy, and they continued to be received, in smaller numbers, even during the infrequent periods when combat activity was diminished. 
   
During the period from January 1942 to June 1944, admissions to United States Army hospitals in England wore limited to casualties from the Army Air Forces and a few British casualties received from the Mediterranean theater. Ground forces were engaged in combat in the European theater, and battle casualties were heavy only between D-day, 6 June 1944, and V-E Day, 8 May 1945. 
   
The medical officers in the Mediterranean theater thus had a much longer experience in the treatment of battle casualties than the medical officers in the European theater and had correspondingly greater opportunities to gather data for the evaluation of their techniques of treatment. 
   
The Mediterranean theater, with a relatively small number of troops and relatively few hospitals, was extremely fortunate in having assigned to it a considerable number of affiliated general hospitals. Many able young orthopedic surgeons were on the staffs of these hospitals. Col. Edward D. Churchill, MC, consultant in surgery to the theater surgeon, stimulated and encouraged his junior officers to record and analyze their surgical experiences. Lt. Col. (later Col.) Oscar P. Hampton, Jr., MC, consultant in orthopedic surgery for the theater, was indefatigable in spreading throughout the hospitals of the theater the principles upon which the surgery of wounds of the bones and joints is based.
    
During the war and immediately thereafter, Colonel Hampton, with the assistance of many of his colleagues, collected invaluable data on military orthopedic surgery. The studies which were the result of these investigations and which are presented in this volume form an unusually complete and comprehensive analysis of orthopedic surgery in an overseas theater.   
 
MATHER CLEVELAND, M. D., Formerly Colonel, MC, AUS, Editor for Orthopedic Surgery.