Managing the Wounded

Medical treatment for wounded soldiers entailed a highly organized, hierarchical system that sought to move men quickly off the battlefield and back through successive levels of care. The primary goal was to treat and return soldiers to active service as soon as possible. Americans studied the medical experiences of European nations already engaged in war and adopted many of their methods. Nations were especially concerned with restoring disabled men to “usefulness” after the war. New rehabilitation therapies helped injured soldiers heal and develop job skills, thus keeping them off government pensions.

First issue of The Come-Back, a newspaper published by and for soldier-patients in rehabilitation at Walter Reed General Hospital, December 4, 1918
Courtesy of National Museum of Health and Medicine, Otis Historical Archives