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Levi H. Fuson operates on a patient at Base Hospital 21 in Rouen, France.

November 1917 at Base Hospital 21

By November of 1917, the original members of Base Hospital 21 were six months into their deployment to Rouen, France. Recruited from the Washington University Medical Center, the doctors, nurses and enlisted personnel who had left St. Louis in May with great fanfare were now settling into a routine that included being severely overworked. When the unit arrived in France to assume control of a British army hospital, it became obvious they were seriously understaffed. A cohort of British personnel remained to help until American medical reinforcements could be sent, but by the start of November, the reinforcements still had not arrived.

In his own words: Philip M. Stimson, MD Assistant Resident at St. Louis Children's Hospital, 1916-1917

This week, as we welcomed new residents to the Medical Center, we discovered a letter in the Archives and Rare Books Division that was written by a resident 101 years ago.

Diary from Base Hospital 21

When World War I began in 1914, American public opinion was divided about whether the U.S. should get involved. But by 1917, it was clear that U.S. involvement was inescapable.