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Medical Science and Army Efficiency

Nature volume 74, pages 612614 (18 October 1906) | Download Citation



IN spite of the natural interest which the nation takes in the Army, few people realise completely what is the work that the Royal Army Medical Corps has to do, how vast are the responsibilities committed to it, and how dependent army efficiency is upon medical science. It is difficult to explain this want of interest and knowledge, but it arises probably from the fact that much of the work which the medical service does in the Army, both in peace and war, is of an unostentatious nature, and lacks the pomp and glamour which appeal so strongly to a public when associating itself with the military organisation of the country. Apart from this, the medical service suffered for many years under grave official disabilities, being systematically snubbed, and its professional and military pride injured. Such an attitude on the part of highly-placed persons in the military bureaucracy could not fail to dishearten its personnel and lessen any general enthusiasm or interest in its work by the general public. To a large extent these mistakes of the past have been rectified, and the army medical service desires now, as it ever has done, to do its duty and to deserve well of the country; but it recognises that to do this it must advance and utilise fully the progress of science and the increasing knowledge of the profession of medicine which it represents in the military machine. Before attempting to explain these aspirations, it may not be uninteresting to readers of NATURE to sketch briefly the evolution of the army medical service from less enlightened times to the present day.

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