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The New Zealand Dental Services

Personal note to ADDS:

page 223

Personal note to ADDS:

The unit was moved around five separate locations until we set up where we are now, north of the Divisional Sector ready for the show which has just taken place.

Had a few good days' work in which I made some of the unit dentally fit, and then the 6th were withdrawn and we commenced operating.

Most of the casualties from the land action came through us and we had one very busy spell with about 400 in 24 hours—many severe cases for operation among them. Was up all that night giving anaesthetics. The same night we had one extensive jaw injury which kept the Medical Officer, my mechanic and myself busy for a considerable time. The MO had to do an emergency tracheotomy and we had some difficulty in devising a support for the jaw during travel. Put a Stainless Steel wire on to the teeth on the larger fragment and attached it to a Kramer wire from a plaster headcap. A combined effort on the part of all three of us which seemed the best we could do with 40 or more cases, all urgent, waiting for operation. [This case travelled well, arrived in good condition at the General Hospital and progressed well.—Author.]

Have kept up with the dental cases all the time. The matter adjusts itself as, when there is a rush of battle casualties, nothing much comes back for dental treatment.

Have at last had a genuine experience of dentistry under fire. Was finishing a big filling when we had a Stuka raid, with two bombs 50 yards from the dental truck. Patient, orderly and I hit the slit trench at about the same moment—the patient still had a mouthful of cotton rolls…. Filling was undamaged and completed before we examined the bomb craters. We were really very lucky as the whole area was scattered with fragments—through the roof of the theatre, mess tent, etc. No unit casualties.