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Gerry B. Dudley- Medical Units


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



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Captain Dudley worked in America's first evacuation hospital in France. During World War I, medical personnel perfected a system of caring for the sick and wounded that ensured a greater survival rate. Field hospitals on the front lines became a clearing station for sick and wounded soldiers. Depending upon the severity of the injury, patients were quickly treated at field hospitals and moved to evacuation hospitals, which performed surgeries and other care, including bandaging and a delousing process. While some patients were evacuated to general hospitals or sent home, healed patients resumed combat.

Like the doctors' living quarters, the types of structures hospital wards occupied also varied. Captain Dudley described one hospital building as a sturdy, long structure "built of stone and concrete one stay high, [with] concrete floors, and [a] red tile roof", divided up into wards containing 16-20 beds. These structures were transferred into well managed, important components for the war. Generally, teams of doctors received, observed, and cared for patients according to shifts. Sometimes, Captain Dudley was on shift from 2:00pm-9:00pm. When his team wasn't receiving or performing surgery, they took care of dressings and other treatments.

The pictures below show dead soldiers. The dead were also sorted out and moved to a different area of the hospital grounds for further care. Perhaps some of them died upon arrival or after surgery. The first picture appears to be a morgue like area. The second picture seems to be a ward that contained recently deceased wounded soldiers. Although the location of each of these pictures remains unknown, the existence of these pictures in the Coles County Historical Society Archives indicates that Captain Dudley witnessed these horrific scenes.


meduint 1a



medunit 2a











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