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JAMA 100 Years Ago
August 5, 1998


Author Affiliations

Edited by Brian P. Pace, MA, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 1998;280(5):416I. doi:10.1001/jama.280.5.416

Medical officers returned from Cuba with sick and wounded from General SHAFTER's command have given us interesting details of the medical and surgical work during and after the engagements at Santiago. On the debarkation of troops at Baiquiri they were pushed rapidly forward, each man carrying his blanket roll and three days' rations. Regimental surgeons with their hospital corps men accompanied their respective commands; but all regimental medical and surgical chests, dressings, etc., were of necessity left behind, as no horses or mules had as yet been landed. Surgeons applied to higher authority for their medical property and sent back to Baiquiri to endeavor to recover it; but in the meantime the vessels, emptied of troops, had been ordered out of the harbor and had gone to ports unknown or lay too far out at sea, with no way of communicating with them. Ultimately a launch was procured and some of the regimental medical supplies were gathered up from such of the transports as could be reached. Thus, although the army had embarked with adequate first aid supplies, only a percentage of them was available when the time came for their use. Fortunately, however, the men carried the necessary dressings on their persons, for every soldier of the army, with the exception of the men of one regiment, was provided with the official first aid dressing packet containing two antiseptic compresses of sublimated gauze in oiled paper, one antiseptic bandage of sublimated cambric with a safety pin and one triangular bandage, also with a safety pin. Fortunately also, the arrival of the ambulances from Tampa and of the Relief, the hospital ship dispatched by the Surgeon-General to meet just such an emergency, put an end to what would otherwise have been a difficult situation.

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