Stage 5: Fatal Wound Treatment

Fatal wounds included chest wounds, abdominal wounds, or severe shrapnel wounds to the extremities. An element of luck and timing also affected survival.

Because the medical system during WWI relied so heavily on bearers fetching the wounded, a soldier was less less likely to reach medical care if he was hidden from sight or was more difficult to locate. The time a solider spent lying on the battlefield determined whether or not his injury would be considered fatal by medics like the 111th. When units like 111th were responsible for dividing the wounded into categories for treatment, the soldiers who had suffered from fatal wounds received the least amount of care. Because of the shortage of supplies on the front lines, medical units devoted most of their supplies to the wounded men who were most likely to live. The fatally injured were made as comfortable as possible as they lived out their final moments.

Field Hospital:

The greatest number of fatally wounded soldiers arrived as Field Hospitals. When wounds were so severe that soldiers could not make it to a Base Hospital and could not be adequately treated at the Dressing Station or Field Hospital, they were made as comfortable as possible before death claimed them. Unfortunately, the battlefront required medical personnel to concentrate their attention on those whose recovery seemed possible and thereby to save the greatest number of wounded men.

Hollinger’s Diary:

Sat. Aug. 17, 1918
Things were quiet today until the
shelling startednear us. about 5 P.M. a Lt Col[1]
+ Duffy of Eng.ord {orderly} were killed in motorcycle several others
killed on streets. Harvey Hottenstein[2] was
killed by a shell while working on motor cycle
Shells dropt on off bld. {building} Fads badly but noone
else hurt except for a few cuts. Bad night in Fads
with shells dropping close Handled some bad shrap {shrapnel}
wounds and had some die on our hands.
Bit Shaky.

The Dead:

During lulls in battles, burial teams interred bodies nearby. While medical teams and soldiers had little time and energy, the dead recieved the best treatment that could be provided in battlefield conditions. Although the names of most of the dead were recorded in army records, the structure of battle, most common wounds, and medical treatment system ensured that the names of quite a few of the buried soldiers remained unknown.

Harvery Hottenstein was the only man from Hollinger’s unit killed in battle. Thus, his image appears on the Liberty Bonds poster of 1918(?) that commemorates Lancaster-area soldiers killed in action. Sergeant Hottenstein is pictured in the third row up from the bottom on the far right when you view the actual poster at the Archives and Special Collections of Franklin and Marshall College or scroll up to see a digital copy (which appears above this section as the featured image).

Along with the names of the rest of the members of the 111th, his name also appears on the WWI memorial in Buchanan Park.

 

Comparatively speaking, infantry units suffered from significantly more casualties than any other division of the American Expeditionary Forces. For every 100 infantry soldiers wounded, the Medical Corps only lost 8.54 troops[3]. To learn more about the total casualty count for the war, click here.

 

[1] Abbreviation for Lieutenant Colonel, a rank between Major and Colonel in the U.S. Army.

[2] Harvey Hottenstein of Lancaster, PA.

[3]Albert G. Love, War Casualties, “The Loss of Man Power in War,” 44, http://www.vlib.us/medical/stats/warcasu2.htm#M.

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