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HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEUROPSYCHIATRY IN THE EUROPEAN THEATRE OF OPERATIONS
JESSE F. CASEY
Am J Psychiatry 1946;102:721-727.
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Winter General Hospital, Veterans Administration, Topeka, Kansas

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Abstract

During the year 1942 the NP. cases in the E. T. O. were cared for by the NP. sections of the station and general hospitals then functioning in the theatre. On August 12, 1942, Colonel Lloyd J. Thompson was appointed senior consultant in neuropsychiatry in the theatre. On January 23, 1943, the first specialized NP. hospital, the 36th Station Hospital, was established in Exeter, Devonshire, England.As the troop strength increased in the E. T. O. definite neuropsychiatric needs developed. These were found to be (1) facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of salvable NP. cases, (2) facilities for the neuropsychiatric screening of combat units (pre-invasion), (3) facilities for the immediate care, treatment and eventual disposition of non-salvable NP. cases.The specialized NP. hospital was found to have a definite value as it was able to (1) provide more definitive therapy than was practicable in an ordinary general hospital, (2) help standardize the management of all NP. cases in the theatre, (3) provide for the physical separation of psychotics and all other non-salvable NP. cases from the salvable ones, (4) provide adequate clinical material and a teaching staff for a school of neuropsychiatry in the E. T. O.In providing for the needs outlined above plans were made calling for 12,000 to 15,000 NP. beds to be set up in the NP. sections of approximately 150 general hospitals and by the establishment of three specialized NP. units. Of these, the 36th Station and the 96th General Hospitals functioned as diagnostic and therapeutic centers for the more serious psychiatric cases. The 312th Station Hospital was known as the "Neurosis Center" designed to provide definitive therapy for the less serious cases in order that they might remain in the theatre in some useful capacity.Simultaneously with the establishment of the specialized NP. units, a school of neuropsychiatry was set up. This was originally in the 36th Station Hospital, serving as a means for refresher courses for younger psychiatrists in the theatre as well as a training center for medical officers not previously trained in psychiatry. Later it was moved to the 312th Station Hospital where most emphasis was placed on training for the management of NP. cases in the field under combat conditions.After the invasion of the Continent of Europe, need for a specialized NP. unit soon developed there. The 130th General Hospital was reorganized for this purpose and was eventually established in Ciney, Belgium. Due to being close to the, front line, this unit was not able to function exclusively as a NP. hospital. It did so, however, after the Ardennes campaign, its primary mission being that of a neurosis center.Finally the management of NP. casualties in the field was discussed.

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