Charles Field Mason.

A complete handbook for the sanitary troops of the U. S. army and navy and national guard and naval militia online

. (page 2 of 38)
Online LibraryCharles Field MasonA complete handbook for the sanitary troops of the U. S. army and navy and national guard and naval militia → online text (page 2 of 38)
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The duties of noncommissioned officers of sanitary troops are
to maintain discipline in hospitals and watch over their general
police; to supervise the duties and assist in the instruction of the
subordinate personnel in hospital and in the field ; to look after and
distribute hospital stores and supplies; to care for hospital prop-


erty ; to compound medicines ; to prepare reports and returns ; and
to perform such other duties as may, by proper authority, be
required of them.

The senior noncommissioned officer must be an efficient discipli-
narian, expert clerk, accurate arithmetician, and a trustworthy phar-
macist, with as much knowledge of materia medica, therapeutics,
and minor surgery as will enable him to give sound advice and suit-
able treatment in the minor ailments and accidents which in civil
life are dependent on the resources of domestic medicine or the
knowledge of the nearest pharmacist; in addition, he must have
that higher knowledge, for use in the wards, which enables the ex-
perienced nurse to appreciate the condition of those who are
seriously ill, that their improvement may be fostered and all harmful
influences excluded. At small posts, during the temporary absence
of the medical officer, the unforeseen casualties and even many of
the exigencies of military life impose duties upon him the satisfac-
tory performance of which may be of the first importance to the
individuals concerned.

The following are official rules for the interior administration of
hospitals :


(1) In the smaller hospitals the senior noncommissioned officer, under the
direction of the surgeon, is in immediate charge of the hospital and the
Hospital Corps detachment.- He will see that all men of the detachment and
all patients in the hospital are always present or accounted for. He will
require all members of the detachment to perform their duties quietly and
treat the sick with gentleness and consideration. 1

(2) The noncommissioned officer in charge of public property will keep an
accurate account of the same and its place of distribution.

(3) Each man in charge of a department of the hospital, as wardmaster,
noncommissioned officer in charge of mess, etc., is responsible for the prop-
erty used in his department. He will keep a list of the same and will by
frequent inventories assure himself of its presence.

(4) All public property in the possession of the men must be kept in good
order and all missing or damaged articles accounted for.

(5) A noncommissioned officer or other man, upon his assignment to a
department of the hospital, will make himself familiar with the special orders
governing it, and all must familiarize themselves with the standing orders
of the hospital.

1 In the larger hospitals it may be necessary to distribute these duties among several
noncommissioned officers as determined by the commanding officer of the hospital.


(6) All noncommissioned officers and privates of the detachment will be
present at all formations unless specially excused.

(7) All men on duty in the kitchen and mess room will arise at least one
hour before reveille ; all other members of the detachment, unless specifically
excused, will arise at or before first call for reveille.

(8) Immediately after reveille each man will arrange his bed and personal
belongings in a neat and orderly manner. All clean underclothing will be
neatly folded and placed in the lockers, which will be uniformly packed; other
clothing will be brushed and hung in the lockers or in a specially designated
place. Soiled clothing will be kept in the barrack bags. Shoes will be
polished and neatly arranged in the lockers or under the sides of the beds.

(9) All beds will be overhauled and cleaned each week and, weather per-
mitting, the bedding and mattresses, together with the other clothing, will be
well shaken and hung out to air for at least two hours. Mattress covers will
be changed immediately before each monthly inspection or oftener if neces-
sary. Sheets and pollowcases will be changed at least once each week.

(10) A card bearing the name of the soldier will be attached to the foot
of his bed, and his accouterments will be hung, neatly and uniformly arranged,
on the foot end iron of his bunk.

(n) The squad room will always be kept clean, neat, and orderly.

(12) The men will pay the utmost attention to personal cleanliness; each
will bathe at least once weekly, his hair must be kept short, and his face
shaved, or beard neatly trimmed, and his underclothing frequently changed.
(See Army Regulations.)

(13) Members of the detachment will wear the prescribed uniform at all
times when present at the post. While on fatigue they may wear the fatigue
dress. While on duty in wards, dispensary, operating room, mess room, or
kitchen, they will wear the white uniform.

(14) No member of the detachment will leave the hospital bounds except
by permission of proper authority or in case of emergency, in the execution
of duty.

(15) Immediately after breakfast the hospital will be thoroughly policed
in every department. It must be ready for inspection at the hour designated
by the surgeon and always be kept absolutely clean.

(16) No member of the hospital personnel will borrow from or have
financial dealings with any patient.

(17) When necessary a noncommissioned officer in charge of quarters will
be detailed daily by roster from noncommissioned officers on duty with the
detachment, and an emergency squad will always be designated.

(18) The noncommissioned officer in charge of quarters will make an
inspection of all wards and quarters at such times as the surgeon may direct,
will report all unauthorized absentees to the noncommissioned officer in charge
of the detachment, and will see that no unauthorized lights are burning. In
case of fire he will give the alarm and proceed as ordered in fire regulations.
He will be responsible for the efficient performance of the watchman's duties.

(19) The night watchman, when one is necessary, will be under the im-
mediate orders of the noncommissioned officer in charge of quarters. He


will patrol the hospital grounds at least once every three hours and will be
constantly on the alert for fires, lights, and unauthorized persons in or about
the hospital. He will at once report to the noncommissioned officer indicated
all unusual occurrences and violations of existing orders which come under
his observation.


(1) The wardmaster of each ward is directly responsible to the ward
surgeon. He is in charge of his ward and the enlisted assistants and patients
in it, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

(2) The wardmaster is responsible for the cleanliness and order of his
ward, for the public property therein, and for the effects of his patients until
they have been turned over to the proper custodian. He is responsible for
the prompt delivery of prescriptions to the dispensary, of medicines to his
ward, and of the diet orders to the hospital office.

(3) In wards to which members of the Nurse Corps are not assigned the
wardmaster is responsible for the administration of medicines and other
treatment prescribed, the keeping of records, and all other duties that may
be assigned to him by the ward officer.

(4) Phenol, bichloride of mercury, other active poisons, alcohol, and
alcoholic liquors, when necessarily on hand in the ward, will be kept under
lock and key and every precaution taken to prevent their improper use.

(5) On the death of a patient the wardmaster will notify the ward sur-
geon, or in his absence the medical officer of the day. He will not remove
the body from the ward until after it has been examined by a medical officer.

(6) The wardmaster will see that patients are acquainted with the ward

(7) Before leaving the ward at the end of his daily tour of duty, the
wardmaster will turn over to his relief all orders of the ward surgeon,
accompanied by such explanation and instruction as may be necessary.

(8) Upon reaching the ward, patients will be promptly bathed, clothed in
clean hospital clothing, and put to bed, unless their condition indicates other-
wise or a specific order forbids.

(9) Money and valuables found on patients will be disposed of as pre-
scribed in Manual Medical Department. The commanding officer will not
be responsible for money or valuables of patients not turned over for
deposit in the hospital safe.

(10) A clinical record will be carefully kept for each patient. Upon final
disposition of the case this record will be completed and signed by the ward
surgeon and turned in to the record office.

(n) No information regarding the diseases or condition of patients under
treatment will be given to anyone except those authorized under the regula-
tions to receive it.

(12) Visitors will be allowed to see friends in the ward at a specified time,
when their presence will in no way disturb other patients ; but female visitors
will not be permitted in the wards except when cases are serious, and then
only by special permission of the ward surgeon.


(13) Bed linen will be changed on occupied beds at least twice weekly, and
oftener if necessary to insure cleanliness. Whenever a bed is to be occupied
by a new patient clean linen will be furnished. All bedding and clothing used
by infectious cases will be promptly disinfected when removed from the beds.
Patients will not occupy their beds when dressed in other than hospital

(14) Loud noises, boisterous actions, the use of profane language, and
gambling are forbidden in the wards, and no food, intoxicants, or other
articles of food or drink, except as prescribed or authorized, will be brought
into the wards.

(15) Patients are forbidden to use towels, basins, toilet articles, eating
utensils, or articles of clothing pertaining to another patient.


Upon his admission to hospital a patient will first be taken to
the receiving ward, if there is one, or to the office, where his register
card will be filled in so far as the data are available at the time, the
treatment ward to which he is assigned being noted on the back
thereof. There will also be entered on a clinical record brief (Form
550) the patient's name, rank, organization, etc., the diagnosis on
the transfer card, if one has been received, and the designation of
the ward to which he is assigned. This form will accompany the
patient to the ward and will be the wardmaster's authority for his
admission thereto.

Upon, reaching the treatment ward the patient will be promptly
stripped, bathed, clothed in clean hospital clothing and put to bed,
unless his condition indicates otherwise or a specific order forbids.

The treatment sheet and the other clinical record sheets if required
will be begun immediately upon the patient's admission.

The daily routine of the service of a post hospital begins at
reveille, when, after roll call, the wards are tidied up and breakfast
is served and cleared away before sick-call is sounded. Promptly on
this call a noncommissioned officer from each company brings his
sick to the place designated for their inspection ; usually the hospital
or a dispensary. A medical officer examines each man, indicating in
the company sick report book those who 'are to be treated in hospital
and those who are to be excused from duty or portions thereof as
sick in quarters, etc. Morning reports are then sent to the ad-
jutant's office for the information of the commanding officer. Pre-
scriptions for those in quarters are now filled, and the register of
sick and wounded is brought up to date by the careful entry of the
morning's changes. After breakfast the wards are visited and the


prescription and diet orders recorded. After this the kitchen,
dining-room, and other parts of the hospital are inspected, and the
regulation visit is at an end. Emergency calls bring the medical
officer to the hospital at any hour and generally, when serious cases
are on hand, he may be expected before retreat or tattoo. After the
morning visit he attends to his patients in the families of officers,
married soldiers, laundresses, and other attaches of the garrison, and
his prescriptions reach the dispensary from time to time during the
forenoon. By the time these are filled the senior noncommissioned
officer has posted the records, supplied the wards with needful
articles of bedding, etc., given directions for the diet of the day, and
provided the required supplies from his subsistence stores and special
diet fund and hospital fund purchases. The afternoon may be de-
voted to instruction, exercises, or amusements, in the absence of
special call for its occupation otherwise, and the evening to study,
or, at certain periods, to the preparation of official reports and
papers. The studies of the sanitary soldiers are naturally such as
will fit them to act intelligently in all matters relating to the manage-
ment of the hospital and the sick and wounded. Every medical
officer supervises the instruction of his men and the higher education
of his noncommissioned officers; the latter guide and perform
similar offices to those who serve under them. The medical officer
is required by regulations to devote at least five hours each week
to instructing the men of the corps in their various duties. These
duties will eventually lead every capable member of the corps to the
position of a noncommissioned officer; but besides this personal
influence they serve a higher end by preparing the corps for sudden
expansion in time of war. When every sergeant is qualified to
undertake the duties of the next higher grade, and every private
qualified for the position of sergeant, the expansion of the command
can be effected by merely recruiting for the lowest grade.

The senior medical officer is responsible for the timely and accu-
rate rendition of the reports and papers required in the service of
post hospital ; but the work, except in the case of special and profes-
sional reports, is usually performed by enlisted men, to whom the
clerical work has been assigned. For all routine reports blank forms
are provided by the War Department, and full instructions are
printed on each of these to insure accuracy, the said instructions
having the force of Army Regulations,



THE duties of the sanitary soldier in war are even more varied
and important than in time of peace and are apt to be more clearly
defined. Thus some men will be assigned as litter-bearers, others as
nurses, orderlies, cooks, operating-room assistants, etc. It is neces-
sary that even privates should understand something of the field
organization of the medical department.


In time of war the activities of the military establishment
embrace :

1 i ) The service of the interior.

(2) The service of the theater of operations.
The service of the interior is carried on by :

(1) Department commanders.

(2) Bureau chiefs, having for this purpose general depots of
supply, general hospitals, arsenals, etc.

(a) The service of the theater of operations is carried on by the
commander of the field forces. The theater of operations is divided
into two zones :

(1) The zone of the line of communications.

(2) The zone of the advance.

(&) The service of the interior functions both in peace and in
war ; that of the theater of operations in war only.


The objects of Medical Department administration in war are:
(a) The preservation of the strength of the Army in the field by
(i) the necessary sanitary measures; (2) the retention of effectives
at the front, and the movement of noneffectives to the rear without
obstructing military operations; and (3) the prompt succor of
wounded on the battlefield and their removal to the rear, thus pre-



venting the unnecessary withdrawal of combatants from the firing
line to accompany the wounded, and promoting the general morak
of the troops.

(ft) The care and treatment of the sick and injured in the zone of
the advance, on the line of communications, and in home territory.


The Medical Department is charged with the administration of
the sanitary service. Specifically, its duties are :

(a) The initiation of sanitary measures to insure the health of
the troops.

(b) The direction and execution of all measures of public health
among the inhabitants of occupied territory.

(c) The care of the sick and wounded on the march, in camp, on
the battlefield, and after removal therefrom.

(d) The methodical disposition of the sick and wounded.

(e) The transportation of the sick and wounded.

(/) The establishment of hospitals and other formations necessary
for the care of the sick and wounded.

(g) The supply of sanitary material necessary for the health of
troops and for the care of the sick and wounded.

(h~) The preparation and preservation of individual records of
sickness and injury, in order that claims may be adjudicated with
justice to the Government and to the individual.


General Enumeration
In time of war the sanitary service includes :

(1) All persons serving in or employed by the Medical Depart-
ment, including officers and men temporarily or permanently detailed

(2) Members of the American National Red Cross assigned to
duty with the Medical Department by competent authority.

(3) Individuals whose voluntary service with the Medical Depart-
ment is duly authorized.

(a) The personnel of the Medical Department and all other per-
sons assigned to duty with that department are collectively called
sanitary troops.


The following persons serve in or are employed by the Medical
Department ;

(1) Medical officers of the Regular Army (including officers of
the Medical Reserve Corps), of the Organized Militia called into the
service of the United States, and of the Volunteer Army.

(2) Physicians under contract.

(3) Members of the Dental Corps.

(4) Members of the Hospital Corps.

(5) Members of the Nurse Corps.

(6) Officers and soldiers of the line or staff detailed for duty with
the Medical Department.

(7) Civilians employed by the Medical Department.


The title of the senior medical officer on the staff of the com-
mander of a field army is " chief surgeon " ; of a line of communica-
tions, "surgeon, base group"; of a division, "division surgeon";
of a brigade operating independently, " brigade surgeon " ; of a
detachment, regiment, or smaller command, " the surgeon " ; of a
field hospital or other sanitary formation, and of an ambulance com-
pany or detachment thereof, "commanding officer."

(See Rules of Land Warfare.)

In campaign, all persons belonging to the sanitary service and
chaplains attached to the Army wear on the left arm a brassard
bearing a red cross on a white ground, the emblem of the sanitary
service of armies. This brassard is issued and stamped with a num-
ber by competent authority, and in case of persons who do not have
military uniforms it is accompanied by a certificate of identity.

Brassards will be issued to the uniformed personnel of the sani-
tary service and to chaplains by the senior medical officer of the
organization with which they are on duty. To other individuals
entitled thereto under the provisions of the Geneva convention
brassards and certificates of identity (Form 61) will be issued by
the division surgeon, surgeon, base group, the department surgeon,
or the Surgeon General, as the case may require. The certificate of
identity will bear the' same number as the brassard.


The person to whom a certificate of identity is issued will retain
it in his personal possession and exhibit it when called upon by com-
petent authority to do so. Care will be exercised to prevent the
certificate of identity or its container from coming into the hands
of another person. The loss of a brassard or of a certificate will be
investigated and reported by the immediate commander to the office
which issued the lost article.

All sanitary formations display during daylight (reveille to re-
treat) the Red Cross flag accompanied by the National flag. If a
sanitary formation falls into the hands of the enemy it displays while
in such situation the Red Cross flag only. At night the positions of
sanitary formations are marked by green lanterns a camp infirm-
ary by one green lantern ; a field hospital by two green lanterns, one
above the other ; and an ambulance company or its dressing station
by one green lantern above one white lantern.

All materiel pertaining to the sanitary service. is also marked with
the Red Cross emblem, a red cross on a white ground.


All the personnel of the sanitary troops and armed detachments
or sentinels .ordered by competent authority to guard sanitary for-
mations are respected and protected under all circumstances. If
they fall into the hands of the enemy, they do not become prisoners
of war but are disposed of as provided in Article 12 of the Geneva
convention, 1906. In order to obtain this protection, the command-
ing officer of every sanitary formation should require of his subordi-
nates a strict observance of the terms of the Geneva convention.


The following table gives an outline of the organization of the
Medical Department in war :










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(See Army Regulations: Organized Militia)

The places of assembly for Volunteers and for the Organized
Militia of a State, Territory, or the District of Columbia when called
into the service of the United States are known as mobilization

(See F. S. R. : Service of the Interior.)

The places which are selected by the War Department, when war
is imminent or has been declared, for the assembly of troops for
joint operations or for embarkation, are known as concentration


A camp hospital is an immobile unit organized and equipped for
use in camps where the care of the sick would otherwise result in
the immobilization of field hospitals or other sanitary formations
pertaining to organizations.


Hospital trains are Medical Department organizations and will
be provided by the War Department when required for the trans-
portation of the sick and wounded. In cases of emergency when
hospital trains are not available ordinary trains for patients will be
provided for the temporary use of the Medical Department.

A hospital train made up of 10 cars, of which 8 are for patients
(capacity 200), is allowed, in accordance with Tables of Organiza-
tion, a personnel of 3 medical officers (captains or lieutenants) ; 3
noncommissioned officers (i sergeant first class, 2 sergeants) ; 2 act-

Online LibraryCharles Field MasonA complete handbook for the sanitary troops of the U. S. army and navy and national guard and naval militia → online text (page 2 of 38)