National Geographic : 1917 Apr
HOSPITAL UNPREPAREDNESS: AN OBJECT-LESSON FOR AMERICA In the early days of the war, before the French Red Cross had fully organized its resources, it frequently happened that straw strewn upon marble flags was the only make shift for beds which could be provided for the wounded. This straw proved most unfortu nate for the wounded, as it was often infected with tetanus germs. Here, beneath the altar of their faith, in the Church of Aubigny, converted into a hospital, the fighting men of France reconsecrated their lives to the cause. It is not necessary to give the details of the experiments of these two scientists. Today, by the application of the Carrel Dakin method of sterilizing wounds, one amputation is performed where formerly twenty were necessary, and where there were ten deaths one now occurs, and the time of convalescence is reduced from three to six months to four or, at the most, six weeks. It has been found that the method of Doctor Carrel applied to the formula of Doctor Dakin has not only shortened con valescence, but in consequence reduced the strain on doctors and nurses and the cost of hospital maintenance; also it has minimized pain. But more than all this, it has resulted in a great saving of limbs and lives to France. THE HEROISM OF THE FRENCH WOMEN Turning from the purely military side of war to the economic side, we find an- other picture of French sacrifice. In this picture the French woman holds the fore ground. In the time of war every physically fit male in France can be called upon to shoulder rifle and fight the battles of his country. When this call sounds, it might be thought that the agricultural and in dustrial structure of the nation would be reduced to chaos. But for the sturdy heroism of the women of France such might have been the case. When the men were called to the colors, the women came forward to fill the gaps in the farming and manufac turing armies. French women, aided by their children, plowed the fields, sowed the seed, har vested the crops that during two years have fed the soldiers of France. French women tended the vines, gathered the grapes, and pressed the wine which France exports throughout the world.