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War Surgery and Medicine

Medical Boarding in New Zealand, 1939–45

Medical Boarding in New Zealand, 1939–45

The examining of recruits was undertaken by a panel of general practitioners. At one stage provision was made for a specialist ENT surgeon to be a member of the board, but this was not possible with the small number of specialists available. Arrangements were made by the boards to refer doubtful cases to specialists for their opinion. The short time allowed for examination tended to the elimination of special examination of the ears, and auriscopes were not used as a routine in examination of the drum. The estimation of deafness also was made on rough tests and the audiometer not used. It was inevitable, therefore, that many recruits with old perforated drums, many with chronic otitis media, and many with otosclerosis were accepted for service. Numbers were invalided back to New Zealand after a relatively short stay in Egypt.

In New Zealand the numerous cases referred for tonsillectomy created a serious problem for the civil hospitals and great delay in getting the recruits into camp. Undoubtedly tonsillectomy was recommended too frequently.