By Wilhelm His
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Extra resources for A German Doctor At The Front
Yesterday I was in Willenberg-a lazaret misery . Our men were tolerably well placed in schools, churches and private houses, though very simply . But the Russians were laid out in the prison cells like herrings, on little straw, many dressed only once or not at all . One limped up the stairs, his foot hanging limply in his boot, another had a whole leg hanging on a 48 A GERMAN DOCTOR AT THE FRONT mere shred of skin. It is simply impossible to have enough physicians and personnel whenever the wounded arrive in streams.
In children the disease runs a mild course, somewhat like measles. Anything that tends to lower the vitality, such as crowding in habitations, poverty, hunger, uncleanliness, favors the incidence of the disease . This explains why in past times this disease, known as "hunger typhus," "war typhus," and "camp fever," produced the devastations we have seen for example in the retreat of the French army in 1812, after the battle at Leipsic in 1813, in the Crimean war, and in the RussoJapanese war. On the other hand it was entirely absent in 1866 and in 1870-71.
Much better were the "feldshers," wound physicians as Germany knew them until 1870, who had to take over the duties of regular physicians in the vast country districts of Russia in which university-trained doctors were scarce . We also had no unfavorable experience with the volunteer medical officers, mostly Jewish medical students . I was rather interested to meet among them several who had attended courses in Berlin. During the first months of the war we were troubled little by war diseases, the main worry being the wounded, especially the head and lung gunshot cases so frequently seen in trench 24 A GERMAN DOCTOR AT THE FRONT warfare.