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Wounds

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Anchor: Obviously, just like any other war, wounds of all kinds are another survival challenge. Keeping the wounded alive, a precious skill.

Leslie Pike: We had a lot of wounded considering we only had that many people there.
(Soldiers carrying stretcher)

George Vanner: The paramedics that we had were good. They would do whatever they could.
(Medics treating soldier)

Ronald Guertin: You didn't think of the wound itself. You thought of helping the injured. If a guy had a broken arm, you wanted to help ease his pain.
(Helping the wounded)

George Vanner: They were given morphine by the regimental stretcher bearers themselves.
(Stretcher bearers with soldier)

Ronald Guertin: Most of the time, the stretcher bearers of the 22nd took the injured to the roadside, and we went to get them to bring them back.
(Stretcher bearers carrying wounded)

George Vanner: If we received word by radio that casualties were coming in by helicopter, we put out a Red Cross symbol on the ground and helicopters, little Bell helicopters, which carried only one or two stretchers outside of the cabin on the bottom.
(Helicopters transporting wounded)

Ronald Guertin: We handled what you'd call first aid today, triage if you will.
(Triage station)

George Vanner: The triage system is essentially taking a quick look at wounded and you decide that at one level this man is not going to survive. At the other level this man's got a few scratches and he just needs some simple treatment and in between you had the more severely wounded who need much more attention.

Ronald Guertin: We did initial surgery on patients. For example, if a guy had a shrapnel wound as a result of an exploding shell, then we went in and got it out.

George Vanner: We didn't have all the equipment you'd have in a modern hospital here. We had the majority of it and we improvised. For instance, you might be using an intravenous line and you'd hang that from one of the ropes inside the tent. The sterilization was accomplished. We had steam sterilizers, but the conditions were extremely different. But, mind you, we were dealing with young men in relatively good condition, they were well immunized.
(Ambulance arrives at field dressing station)
(Hospital beds in tent)

Leslie Pike: They had a lot of guts those guys, you know. They didn't cry, they just suffered and suffered and held in there.
(Young soldiers milling about)

George Vanner: We didn't close the wounds initially. That was, had been started actually in World War Two although it wasn't quite as common in World War Two. The idea was that you removed anything that was reasonably accessible without prodding too much for the last bit of metal because that's not necessary and probably undesirable. It caused more trauma than it would help. We would clean up the wounds. If the edges were ragged we'd cut those in a straight line rather than a ragged line and then we'd pack the wound.

Ronald Guertin: We didn't finish the operation. They left with missing flesh and we sent them to Japan, where they finished the surgery. They had some stuff that regenerated skin that had been cut off.

Jan Stirling: I was in Kure, Japan and it was a tremendous experience but a very... I often think of these young people, so many very young ones, 17, 18-year-olds that had been severely wounded. They were brought right from the front lines to us.
(View of busy street in Japan)

Burns were very bad, and amputations, and the shrapnel wounds, you know, because they were holes in the abdominal area or some area of the body. It was all terrible, you know, the amputations, young people. It was very sad, very hard, it was. I'll never get over how brave, courageous, and nice these young people were, you know, even though they were going through all that.


Did you know ...

In all, 26,791 Canadian military men and women serve in Korea and in Japan between 1950 and 1953.

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