HOSPITALS, Field. In the United States army, the director of field hospitals is, like the director of ambulance companies, immediately under the division surgeon and is the latter's executive in respect to the field hospitals of the division. His supervision over the field hospi tals is similar to that exercised by the director of ambulance companies over those companies. He ordinarily accompanies the field hospital in advance on the march, remains with it in camp and keeps the division surgeon informed of his movements. He should maintain communica tion with the director of ambulance companies, to enable that officer to make suitable arrange ments for the removal of patients from the front, and with the surgeon in charge of the sanitary column from the advance section to protitote the rapid evacuation of patients to the rest. * The personnel of a field hospital at war strength are ordinarily assigned as follows: 1 major (commanding); 5 captains and lieuten ants (1 adjutant and quartermaster, 4 ward sur geons) ; 3 sergeants first class (1 acting first sergeant in general supervision of the hospital and in charge of medical property and records, 1 in charge of transportation and quartermaster property and records, 1 in charge of mess sup plies and cooking); 6 sergeants (1 in charge of the dispensary, 1 in charge of operating equip ment, 1 in charge of patients' clothing and ef fects; 3 in charge of wards); 3 acting cooks; 55 ptivates first class and privates (46 attend ants, 1 dispensary assistant, 1 artificer, 4 order lies, 3 supernumeraries); and of the quarter master corps, 1 sergeant (wagon master) and 7 privates (drivers).
The function of the field hospitals is to keep in touch with the combatant organizations and to provide shelter and such care and treat ment as are practicable for the sick and wounded of the division .who are brought in by the ambulance companies until the sanitary service of the line of communications takes charge of them. A field hospital can meet these requirements only whin it is relieved so promptly by the sanitary units in the rear that its mobility is not interfered with. Prompt evacuation of the sick and wounded is neces sary also to secure for them the facilities for treatment and the comforts which are available on the line of communications.
On the march and in temporary camps, however, the field hospitals are the nightly col lecting points for the divisional sick and in jured who are unable to continue the march, and provide for the care of such patients until they can be turned over to the medical service of the line of communications or to a local hospital or hospitals. The use of the field hos pitals for this purpose should be carefully reg ulated by the division surgeon.
For service in combat, the locations of the field hospitals and the number to be opened will be determined by the division surgeon act ing under the instruction of the division com mander. The director of field hospitals will supervise their opening, giving the necessary orders therefor to the commanders of the field hospitals. He will report their opening to the division surgeog. It is desirable that they be centrally located and beyond the zone of con flict, which will usually, necessitate placing them three or four miles in rear of the dress ing stations.
On receipt of an order to open a field hos pital the following departments are established: Dispensary; kitchen, receiving and forwarding, slightly wounded, seriously wounded, operating room and mortuary. All wounded arriving are received at the receiving and forwarding de partment, which is the administrative office of the hospital.
When no adequate provision is made for the evacuation of the sick and wounded and a field hospital becomes the nucleus around which a camp hospital is developed, it becomes an immobile unit, and, if the troops to which it is attached should move, another field hospital is required to accompany them. If by reason of retreat or otherwise a field hospital is required to move before it can evacuate its patients, its commanding officer takes action similar to that prescribed for dressing stations in the like contingency.
Field hospital companies form part of the sanitary train and are set up, when conditions so warrant, three or four miles from the battle field. Their position must be one accessible both from the front and rear and where good water is available.