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‘Hospitals – P. of W. Camp, Changi. 1st Hundred Days’.
During the last week of hostilities amidst the chaos of the island invasion, hospitals were one by one evacuated out of the frontline areas to a small area along the water front, and there under incredible conditions of improvisation, shelling, and bombing, had to carry on with their care of the sick and wounded.
After the surrender, British and Australian troops were herded to Changi and arrangements had to be made there for Hospitalisation up till such time as the main units still working under great pressure in Singapore could evacuate their patients, their equipment and their personnel. This work was taken up by
2/9 Australian Field Ambulance. 18th February, 1942.
Southern Area Hospital (an improvised team) 19th “ “
198 Field Ambulance. 20th “ “
As more personnel arrived in Changi two large hospitals British and Australian were opened up, but under Japanese Orders all units were established by 10th March, 1942 in a small area of seven barrack blocks and became Roberts Hospital with 2,500 patients.
The conditions were appalling, groos [sp] overcrowding, no running water, no lighting, no proper sterilization, shortage of drugs and medical equipment, and no existing arrangements for the disposal of hospital and human waste products. From these heart breaking beginnings great strides have been made and although perfection has not been and never can be reached under existing conditions, the hospital staff can look back with pride on the results of a their labours.
The following figures give some idea of the work that had been done.
Total admission. 11963 4080 16043
% of strength 33:2% 27.2% 31.5%
Dysentery admission 6512 2018 8551
% of strength 18.1% 13.5% 16.7%
Beri Beri cases 477 104 581
Death – Total 185 38 223
Pure Dysentery. 84 13 97
Associated with Dysentery. 10 3 13
“ “ Berl berl. 48 3 51
Battle casualties. 43 10 53