Medical Air Evacuation in World War II

“Do you have room for one more litter case?” the doctor asked. “Private Jenkins fell headlong on a landmine. The nearest hospital’s in Cefalù, a long ambulance ride over rough roads. By air he’ll be in Mateur in two hours. He needs a thoracic surgeon.”
Mellie stared at the unconscious patient. He lay on a litter, his torso swaddled in white gauze. Bloody streaks painted his face, arms, and khaki pants. “We’re his only hope.”

My newest historical fiction series, Wings of the Nightingale, launched by With Every Letter (Revell, September 2012), follows three World War II flight nurses in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

During the war, the advent of medical air evacuation revolutionized the care of the wounded. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower credited air evacuation, sulfa drugs, penicillin, and the use of plasma and whole blood as key factors in the significant drop in the mortality rate among the wounded from World War I to World War II.

Recently I wrote a series of guest posts about medical air evacuation on Redwood's Medical Edge. The first post details World War II air evacuation, the history, advantages, and planes used. The second post discusses the procedures for air evacuation through the eyes of a fictional patient on his air evacuation flight. And the last post introduces the flight nurse - her training, uniforms, duties, and the dangers she faced.

Did you learn anything new? Leave a comment for a chance to win a handmade "Mellie's First Aid Kit," stocked with bandages, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, and - for true emergencies - Starbucks Via coffee.

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