Portable Surgical Hospital

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Portable Surgical Hospitals (PSH) were a type of field hospital. The PSH were units of the United States Army Medical Corps designed to be man-portable by the team manning the hospital. They were eventually replaced by MASH units.

History of the Portable Surgical Hospitals[edit]

During the summer and fall of 1942, a team of Medical Corps officers modified the basic War Department Table of Organization and Equipment (T/O&E) for a standard 25-bed station hospital (T/O&E 8-560, 22 July 1942) into a new theater T/O and table of basic allowances (T/BA) (T/O 8-508-S-SWPA, 31 October 1942) for a portable hospital of 25-beds. The new unit was capable of supporting small units in its camp-type version (with 4 female Army nurses and organic vehicles) or battalion and regimental combat teams in its task force version (without the 4 nurses and organic vehicles). Commanded by a Medical Corps captain or major, the new 29-man portable hospital had 4 medical officers (3 general surgeons and a general surgeon/anesthetist) and 25 enlisted men, including 2 surgical and 11 medical technicians.

What really marked a radical departure was that all of the unit's equipment, medical and surgical supplies, and rations could weigh no more than the 29 men could personally transport. Hastily assembled and trained, the portable hospitals suffered from many shortcomings in personnel and equipment, which would soon become obvious in jungle fighting. Probably the single most critical problem was the severe limitation placed on the total weight to assure the unit’s portability. From the start, this meant that to be portable, the unit had to give up medical and surgical equipment and supplies that would have been most useful in the field.

List of PSH[edit]


See also[edit]