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November 23, 1907


Author Affiliations

Passed Assistant Surgeon, U. S. N.; Senior Medical Officer, U. S. S. St. Louis.

JAMA. 1907;XLIX(21):1771-1773. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25320210043003a

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There was a time when the only place devoted to the sick in a man-of-war was a small, dark, stuffy place situated on one of the lower decks, usually forward in the very bow. In a way these sick quarters were commensurate with the demands of the profession at that time. There was little antisepsis and no asepsis in surgical work, laboratory methods were confined to small limits and the dispensary was not called on for the variety of medication as at present.

The importance of a well-equipped medical department on board of a man-of-war, too, was less apparent and the value of hygiene in war not known. So long did these inferior conditions exist that even now the impression prevails in many minds that on board a man-of-war little or no improvement has taken place; at least I doubt if the modern, greatly improved hospital arrangements are as well

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