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March 1960

Orthopedic Surgery in Overseas Theaters

AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(3):392-395. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290200036006

The clinical problems of battle casualties and of combat-incurred injuries of bones and joints are described in detail in the volumes of the history of the U. S. Army Medical Department in World War II which deal with orthopedic surgery in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations. Civilian-type lesions, which always exist in a military population, are also described.

Both volumes, however, begin with chapters dealing with personnel and with administrative considerations. This is correct and proper. The clinical care of wounded casualties cannot be carried out efficiently without due regard for logistic considerations — just as logistic principles and practices must be based upon clinical considerations. Furthermore, the most competent and most successful orthopedic surgeons who entered the Army from civilian life still required orientation in military surgery, while the large numbers of relatively inexperienced medical officers who were suddenly called upon to handle overwhelming numbers of orthopedic

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