September 25, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

September 25, 1942

Camp Pickett, Virginia

Dear Folksies,

We are situated behind the Station Hospital, which is rather a nice location. We have some shade and some cool trees in the neighborhood.

As things stand now we are all working in the hospital. Many of the men of the Station Hosp. are away on leave, etc. and besides that they are somewhat shorthanded, so were very pleased that Mattie requested permission for us to do something around the hospital. Of course, there isn’t an awful lot to do but at least it keeps us busy enough.

Bill Newsom, Pete Joseph, Jim Hamilton, and I are in Surgery in the A.M., learning anesthesia and seeing some operations. In another day or two they are going to let us give some of the anesthetics ourselves. Then, besides that, we are assigned to a surgical ward. The one I am in is divided between Frank Gerbode, Chuck Schwartz and myself.

At the moment there are only about 20 patients on the ward so you can see there isn’t very much to do. Most of the cases are pilonidal cysts, hemorrhoids, hand infections, boils, etc. We have full charge of the ward with, of course, the major of the Hosp. Surg. Service, as chief. They have ward rounds thru the whole hospital – few cases on each ward, twice a week and have medical and surgical conferences twice a week also. It’s not bad, although some of the medical and surgical practices that we have seen do not meet with the approval of our well-trained bunch. In fact, the amputation that we saw this A.M. was a job that those of us who have had no more surgical training than I have, would shudder if we couldn’t have done a neater and nicer job.

But be that as it may, we are seeing patients, seeing x-rays, and getting the feel of stethoscopes, etc. In fact, we are going to be able to pitch in on some of the operations even.

It apparently is the plan that we will be here somewhere in the neighborhood of a month, but of course we do not know anything for sure, or even for unsure for that matter.

Food here continues to be swell. In fact, breakfasts are really fine and perhaps I shall be gaining back a few of the pounds that I lost because of the heat and lousy food in Kilmer. Though, actually, I just as leave not gain them back as I feel swell as it is at 185 pounds.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
September 26

Frank Gerbode, MD

Chuck Schwartz, MD