Bushnell Amputee Patients

Amputee patient and nurse
Bushnell General Military Hospital helped amputee veterans like this one reenter civilian life after World War II.

Bushnell Hospital was perhaps best known as an amputee treatment center. Each general hospital, in addition to serving a specific region, also had one or more specialties, and Bushnell was one of five (later seven) amputee centers in the United States. Over 17,000 American servicemen lost one or more limbs during World War II. The doctors at Bushnell focused first on cleaning up battlefield amputations, which were often done in hurried and less-than-ideal circumstances as “guillotine”* amputations. They then helped the amputee patients return to a normal civilian life. Bushnell also had a plastic surgery division that treated soldiers who had lost parts of their jaw or face in the war.

Bushnell General Hospital "No Help Wanted" amputee Rehabilitation 1945

No Help Wanted, filmed at Bushnell General Military Hospital, was used to teach employers about the benefits of hiring amputee veterans and shows many of the therapy and training activities at Bushnell.

Meet McGonegal, 1944

Meet McGonegal was used to inspire amputee veterans at Bushnell and other WWII amputee hospitals.

*A guillotine amputation is where a damaged limb is removed by cutting straight across and leaving the amputation site open. It is a faster surgery and is meant to allow infection to drain from the wound, as opposed to a closed amputation, where the bone is cut a bit shorter than the surrounding tissue so the skin can be pulled over the amputation site, forming a healed stump. Guillotine amputations are done with the expectation that a closed amputation will follow later.

Sources for this Page

“Hospital is finished,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 17, 1942, available at https://digitalnewspapers.org/.
Colonel Emma E. Vogel, USA (Ret.), Lieutenant Colonel Mary S. Lawrence, USA (Ret.), and Major Phyllis R. Strobel, USA (Ret.), “Professional Services of Physical Therapists, World War II,” Army Medical Specialist Corpshttp://history.amedd.army.mil/corps/medical_spec/publication.html.
* “Amputations,” Orthopedic Surgery in the European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army Medical Department Office of Medical History, http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/orthoeuropn/chapter12.htm.