The Lakeside Unit, Base Hospital No. 4, out of Cleveland, Ohio, was the first contingent of the United States Army to see active duty in Europe in the First World War. Organization of this medical unit was initiated in 1914, more than two years before the US. entered the war in 1917. American Ambassador to France, Myron T. Herrick, asked Dr. George Crile, Chief of Surgery at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland, to organize a surgical team to study medical conditions in France and tend to injured soldiers. Dr. Crile drew on the personnel of Lakeside Hospital to staff the unit, which was based for three months in 1915 at the American Ambulance in Paris. This group of surgeons and nurses performed their duties under an entirely neutral platform, setting the stage for the formation of similar medical units from the United States to serve on the European battlefield.
Jennifer Nieves (Dittrick archivist) and Dianne O’Malia (University Hospitals archivist) at the Dittrick Museum, will share this compelling story as told in the first hand accounts recorded in Crile’s personal diaries and through photographs taken by members of the Unit.
This event will be held in the Zverina Room, Dittrick Museum, Allen Memorial Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106
This is a members only event, membership information and form is available here.
In 1914, two and a half years before the US entered World War I, Cleveland’s foremost physicians and surgeons gathered their resources and took a group, called the Lakeside Unit, to Paris to tend to injured French and British soldiers. This was done on an entirely neutral platform and set the stage for the formation of similar university hospital units from all over the country.This trip was well documented in photographs, diary’s and other documents. These and some artifacts from this trip will be featured in the exhibit.
Jennifer Nieves, archivist at the Dittrick and Dianne O’Malia, archivist for University Hospitals, are nearing the completion of several projects that showcase the history of the Lakeside Unit. We’ve announced the pending completion of the Lakeside Unit website several times in the past few years. One thing or another delayed this process: change in web designers, web platforms and our fulltime positions, but we are now almost ready for release. During the past year we discovered photographs we hadn’t seen before, found interesting tidbits in George Crile’s diary not read earlier, and we acquired more Lakeside Unit related items that will be included in the site. We have also made contact with other institutions commemorating the WWI medical experience, and hope to work with them on future projects.
More information on Lakeside exhibit and related projects.