World War I
Field Hospitals

Field Hospitals
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.63

     challenging words:    medics, further, horrific, military, withstand, particularly, battlefield, wounded, tended, filth, triage, highly, artillery, purpose, administer, provided
     content words:    World War

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Field Hospitals
By Jane Runyon

1     One of the effects of any war that cannot be avoided is the number of casualties. Casualties are people who are killed or wounded during the war. Care must be given to those wounded in battle. This is not always an easy task. Battlefield injuries must be tended to under horrific conditions. In a basketball game or a football game, all activity comes to a halt when someone is injured. Medical personnel come onto the field of play to administer aid to the injured player. The shooting does not stop in a war when someone is injured. The medical personnel risk their own lives trying to reach the soldier in need. If the medics are fortunate enough to remove the wounded from the battlefield, there must be a medical facility nearby for further attention to be given.
2     Setting up a field hospital can be a tricky business. The hospital needs to be close enough to the battle so that the wounded can be brought there quickly. It must also be far enough away from the actual fighting that the staff and wounded will not be in danger from the fighting. The field hospital must also be large enough to handle large numbers of wounded. It must have a staff that is highly trained in emergency medical techniques. Time is also an enemy of the field hospital. Procedures must be done quickly. During battle, there is no time to spend planning an operation. There are always more wounded to be tended to. Time cannot be wasted.
3     Schools, churches, and large homes often were taken over and made into field hospitals. These buildings were large enough to handle the needs of the doctors. They were usually well built and could withstand the artillery fire in the distance. They provided shelter and at least some warmth against the elements. Military leaders liked to have the field hospitals a mile or two away from the battle itself. Sometimes large buildings were not in the area where the hospital was needed. In this event, barns, caves, and even large tents had to serve the purpose.

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