(1917 - 1918)
Organization of hospital services was one of the strong recommendations
made to every nation by the Geneva Convention of 1863. The American
Red Cross was an outgrowth of that convention. The great suffering
of the sick and wounded in our Civil War and even the brief Spanish-American
War had demonstrated the dire need of better organized medical
services in future U. S. emergencies.
Pennsylvania Hospital was in the forefront of the first hospital
service units established under the aegis of the Red Cross Base
Hospitals. Although the United States was not yet into the "Great
War," the resulting plan to mobilize personnel from some
of the city's hospitals drew an immediate and positive response
from Pennsylvania Hospital Board members. The Pennsylvania Hospital
Base Hospital Unit No. 10 was born and nurtured by a $25,000
donation for equipment from the Pennsylvania Committee for National
The United States declared war on Germany on April 16, 1917.
One month later, Pennsylvania Hospital director of nurses Margaret
A. Dunlop, who organized the nursing component of the unit, was
given five days to assemble her Pennsylvania Hospital graduates
and a smaller number of nurse volunteers from other Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Base Hospital No. 10 personnel sailed from New
York on May 10 to Le Treport, France. They discovered that the
500-bed facility they expected was in fact a 2,000-bed facility.
Later additions were made to the staff but the original unit
of 24 doctors, two dental surgeons, 64 nurses and 157 enlisted
men faced an immediate and incredible task.
In more than 18 months of service in France, Pennsylvania Base
Hospital No. 10 treated over 48,000 patients. Of this number,
23,238 were wounded; 24,573 were ill. Mortality was remarkably
low with only 538 deaths. Most of the sick and injured were part
of the British Expeditionary Force but there were also 3,000
Americans. At the end of their service, the directors of the
units who staffed Base Hospital No. 10 received the Royal Red
At home, the hospital staff was at about half-strength. Its
ability to care for civilians was limited by the large number
of convalescing U. S. sailors filling the wards. In October,
1918, the world-wide influenza epidemic struck the hospital.
The already depleted nursing staff was hit hard -- 52 nurses
became ill and four died.
to 1901 - 1950