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Medical Equipment carried R Stretcher bearer and RAMC


David_Blanchard

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David_Blanchard

What type of medical equipment was carried by a Regimental stretcher bearer and a stretcher bearer of the RAMC in his haversack? 
 

Was there any difference between the two? And was there any form of handbook / FSR that standardised this practice?

 

Thanks,

 

David 

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Might be in the Standing Orders for the RAMC 1914, or the RAMC's Field Service Notes 1914, but not really my field so I can't be certain. @petestarlingmay know.

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My understanding is that there was no difference.  The regimental bearers operated in the “Collection” Zone and did the bulk of the manual carrying.  The RAMC bearers from the field ambulance operated in the “Evacuation” Zone and usually carried loaded stretchers much shorter distances to ambulances.  For both the types of bearer their priority was the speed that the casualties could be passed back, as speedy evacuation gave the wounded the best chance.  Most wounded men had already been dressed either, by themselves, or a mate using the First Field Dressing with which each soldier was (and is still) equipped.  Nevertheless the bearers of both categories carried a first aid haversack packed to the brim with field dressings (pre-1916) or shell dressings (1916 onward).  In addition they had bottles or ampoules of iodine for the cleansing of wounds, which was considered a priority as the danger of pathogen ingress into open wounds was already well known.  Thus the contents of the haversack was very simple in those pre-penicillin and pre-NSAIDS times.

 

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Here's yet another question based on ignorance, would the RAMC bearer have carried morphine or similar? My (probably skewed) thinking is that if they we're bringing in wounded from forward positions then they may be pinned down for some time. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask at what point did an injured soldier receive his first dose of 'painkiller'?

 

Simon

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5 hours ago, mancpal said:

Here's yet another question based on ignorance, would the RAMC bearer have carried morphine or similar? My (probably skewed) thinking is that if they we're bringing in wounded from forward positions then they may be pinned down for some time. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask at what point did an injured soldier receive his first dose of 'painkiller'?

 

Simon

Not during WW1, no.  Morphine was usually administered by a medical officer/surgeon, and there was reluctance to give any until casualties had reached the regimental aid post (RAP), or advanced dressing station (ADS).  Given too early it could hamper the speed at which any life saving surgery might be given.  There was increasingly strict discipline involved with the storage and administration of morphia.  See: https://volteface.me/feature/great-war-cocaine-panic/

Edited by FROGSMILE
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David_Blanchard

Thanks very much- this, I would have thought, was a fairly simple question but couldn't find an answer out there in internet land or in a number of books I have about medical history or stretcher bearers.

 

Thanks again,

 

David 

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The regimental SB's evacuated from in front their forward trenches back to the RAP. The RAMC Orderlies of the Field Ambulance evacuated rearward from the RAP to the ADS/MDS.

The Regimental SBs standard of care depended on what training they had received from their RMO. This differed greatly. The Regimental SB was predominately someone who quickly applied a FFD or shell dressing and 'scooped and ran' back to the RAP.  Many RMO's went over the top following the assault because they felt they could give better care to the wounded than the SBs but this was cautioned upon and reported to Kitchener by Col Aurther Lee as early as October 1914. 

When the Shell Dressing was introduced to cater for the larger fragment wounds an iodine ampule was included in the packet but eventually decided that this was a waste so it was withdrawn.

The RAMC Training Manual 1911 was the manual in service throughout the war. 

There is a FWW medical haversack with some contents, on display in the Museum of Military Medicine. 

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David_Blanchard

Thanks again for your help. So the first aid administered by a Regimental SB would be a field or shell dressing with possibly iodine. So for a seriously injured soldier no form of tourniquet would be applied? This would be carried out at the RAP by the RMO?

 

David 

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1 hour ago, David_Blanchard said:

Thanks again for your help. So the first aid administered by a Regimental SB would be a field or shell dressing with possibly iodine. So for a seriously injured soldier no form of tourniquet would be applied? This would be carried out at the RAP by the RMO?

 

David 


The answer to your first part is yes.  As regards tourniquets, there was a period early in the war when they were favoured, especially by some RAMC orderlies trained prewar and with greater experience, but their correct use relied upon careful supervision subsequently and the lack of continuity as men were evacuated rearward often led to circulation being cut and the limb subsequently having to be amputated, which would have been unnecessary if the tourniquet had not been neglected.  As a result their usage fell from favour.

 

After the war a lessons learned style British military medical manual had the following to say:  “The employment of the tourniquet, except as a temporary measure during an operation, usually indicates that the person employing it is quite ignorant both of how to stop bleeding properly and also of the danger to life and limb caused by the tourniquet… If an orderly has applied a tourniquet, it is the duty of the medical officer who first sees that patient to remove it at once.”

 

Major Blackwood of the Royal Army Medical Corps, thought of the tourniquet as an invention of the Evil One and felt that many limbs were lost due to the indiscriminate use of them.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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David_Blanchard

Thanks again for your excellent reply- just wondering what your source is for the post war military manual?

 

David 

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1 minute ago, David_Blanchard said:

Thanks again for your excellent reply- just wondering what your source is for the post war military manual?

 

David 


Yes David, it can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Injuries-Diseases-War-Experience-Campaign/dp/1375511122/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1524394424&sr=8-1&keywords=Injuries and Diseases of War&linkCode=ll1&tag=argunnermag-20&linkId=945c8012f4a4db0c668f2abe85747bcd

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