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Topic: Shrapnel Convention?, "The doctors were there because..."< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Larry Jewell Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2001,10:43  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A reporter was asking me if I knew about the convention of "shrapnel surgeons" that was being held that weekend in Honolulu.  I've not heard of this before.  Any info?

Larry J

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2001,1:14 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Larry,
I guess the "schrapnel surgeon" convention must be referring to a course on "Burns" being conducted that morning by noted New York surgeon Dr. John Moorhead, author of "Traumatic Surgery" one of the leading monographs of pre-WWII, at Queen's Hospital in the Mabel Smythe Auditorium for the Honolulu County Medical Society.

On learning of the attack, the doctors -in mass- went to Tripler Hospital.
HTH,

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2001,1:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The inuendo of the question was "why have all those extra doctors there if you're not going to need them?"

He asked me if there was any other reason for them to be there at that time and I replied, "You wouldn't want a paid vacation to Hawaii?"

I'm amused by this bit of mythology in that if FDR was doing nothing else to prevent or blunt the attack, why would he arrange for a bunch of doctor's to be there?  Wouldn't the US get into the war quicker if more GIs died?  Why not sacrifice them all?  It would achieve the Evil One's goal of war at any cost.  "Puh-leeze."

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2001,9:14 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Larry,

Don't let them upset you with innuendo ad foolishness. They will believe no matter what you say, so it's better to ignore them.

But it matters that you know the truth, even if they don't listen.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2001,9:19 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Everytime I hear a new "proof" I do some digging and find out something I didn't know before (usually what's wrong with the "proof").  It's grist for the intellectual mill.

Larry J

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2001,12:07 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Okay, got some quotes here:

JAMA, Vol. 118, No. 9, Feb. 28, 1942.  "Surgical Experience at Pearl Harbor", by John J. Moorhead, M.D.

"I had arrived in Honolulu on December 3 at the invitation of the Honolulu Medical Society to give a course on "Traumatic Surgery."  By a strange coincidence the second lecture was entitled "Treatment of Wounds, Civil and Military," and this was given on Friday night, December 5, approximately 36 hours before the attack. ..."

So, we know Dr. Moorhead was there, and was giving a course on traumatic surgery.  Now, I'm not sure everybody has organized a medical convention, but, having been in too close proximity to someone who was doing so once, I can assure you they are not slap-together affairs.  Typically they are scheduled 6 months to a year in advance.  

The Hawaiian Medical Journal website has an article that recapitulates this info.

Okay, but why was the lecture series being held, and why at Hawaii?

Journal of Military History, Vol. 53, No. 1, January, 1989, pp. 65-78, "The US Army Medical Department and the Attack on Pearl Harbor":

Before defense arrangements commenced in 1940, army medical facilities consisted of two large hospitals on the island of Oahu-- Tipler Hospital at Fort Shafter and the Station Hospital of Schofield Barracks, which together had a normal capacity of 650-- and a smaller medical facility of 10 beds at Kilawea Military Camp on Hawaii Island.  Supplementing those facilities were a few dispensaries scattered about the various military stations in the islands.  Tripler also contained the major medical supply depot.

When in 1940 it became known that the Hawaiian garrison would be greatly augmented in strength, expansion of the hospitals became a pressing need.  King ordered temporary wards set in barracks and on deep hospital porches, as well as construction of a new hospital at Hickam Field in the South Sector of Oahu.  His actions increased the number of beds, including emergency beds, to more than 1,449.  With this increase went changes designed to improve the ability of the hospital to function rapidly in events of war, including specific measures for treatment of gas casualties.

End quote.

Impressive!  FDR knew in 1940 that the Japanese were going to attack, so he ordered a bunch of hospital space so that he could treat the wounded so they wouldn't die and increase the death toll which he wanted as large as possible to get America behind the war in Europe after the war in the Pacific started without the Germans.  Whew.  

A quick note on the "huge number of Red Cross parcels" supposedly sent to the island before the attack.  The above article notes that these were produced by ladies on the island, over a course of months.    

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2001,3:18 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Farther down in the JMH article I find this:

"Throughout 1941 Colonel King prepared his department to meet the needs of a crisis following the outbreak of war.  Besides pushing forward the hospital extension program, by November 1941 he had established twenty civilian aid stations complete with the necessary trained personnel and supplies.  Thus one month before the Pearl Harbor attack the stockpiling of medical accoutrements and the state of readiness of Hawaii's ambulance service had also reached a point where supplies and ambulances to a large extent could cope with such a calamity...."

It also states:

"Medical supply underwent a similar mobilization... Civilians aided in the buildup.  By December the military medical depots had collected over fifty-eight thousand surgical dressings made by the Hawaiian Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Civilian medical depots, at King's request, increased their own stocks of medical supplies, adding to the island's overall preparedness."

David, it is this article that states Dr. Moorhead was lecturing on "burns".  The Hawaiian Medical Journal says he was lecturing on "war injuries".   His article states he was "to give a course of lectures on 'Traumatic Surgery'."  

These myths all fall apart when you get the full information.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2001,9:57 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Additional information on the medical buildup at Hawaii can be seen at Naval Historical Center FAQs.

The important part of the article as it relates to this topic is:

"Between 1939 and 1941 Pearl Harbor had been fortunate in receiving unusual attention from the Surgeon General and the officers who assisted him at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in making plans for the Medical Department. When the facilities of the Pearl Harbor hospital had become overcrowded in 1940, every effort had been made to add to the bed capacity, equipment, supplies, and personnel of the Hawaiian area. Although the U.S. Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor had a normal bed capacity of approximately 250 beds and was one of the best equipped and staffed of the eighteen hospitals then in commission, a new hospital that would be removed further from military installations and be less subject to destruction in case of air attack had been planned and was actually under construction at the time of the Japanese attack.

"Because of the great concentration of naval personnel and the activities of the Fleet in the Hawaiian area, the Surgeon General requested and secured permission to send out to Pearl Harbor the Navy's second Mobile Base Hospital, a type of transportable facility which was the most significant institutional organization developed by the Navy Medical Department during the pre-war emergency. To add further to the hospital facilities in the Hawaiian area, the hospital ship USS Solace arrived at Pearl harbor shortly after the Mobile Hospital and was in port when the Japanese struck."

The famous film footage of the Arizona[/] blowing up was taken from [i]Solace.   This information made me realize that the footage had been shown for years reversed, with Arizona's[/] bow pointing to the left.  This is obviously incorrect given [i]Solace's position on the starboard side of [i]Arizona[/].  

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