Italy - Korean War

Photo by Hal Barker

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Entry: 94022

John Plumhoff PLUMHO wrote on November 25, 2016

City and State: FINKSBURG MD


Service or Relationship: Army Veteran

Comments: Eventhough Italy had no moral obligation, they responded to the Red Cross call for medical assistance during the Korean War. Italy was not a member of the United Nations at the timeof the Korean War(June 1950-July 1953). It was not until 1855 that Italy became a member of the U.N.
Red Cross Hospital # 68 arrived in Korea November 16, 1951, with 7 doctore, 6 nurses, a Chaplain and 50 Non Commisioned Officers.The was the first Red Cross hospital to answer the call for assitance. The first Commanding Officer was Captain Luigi Goweli(sic) and the second Commanding Officer was Major Fabio Ganche(sic)
The hospital was established at Yongdongpo, which is a suburb of Seoul. The unit had three main divisions, pediatrics, general medicineand surgery, but also had opthamology and dental facilities. The original unit had 50 beds.
On November19 1952, the hospital burned to the ground, Owing to the prompt action of the staff,not a patient was lost.Suspiscion was that the fire was started by Communist partisans.
By February 1953 the hospital was rebuilt and expanded to 145 beds. The cold weather was a factor but doctors and nurses operated around the clock.
From June 1952 thru July 30, 1953 the hospital treated 1,639 in patients (overnite stay) with a mortality rate of 4%. The surgeons had performed over 3,297 operations. The hospital treated over 74,000 patients on an out=patient status. The unit was also successful in rescuing and saving about 150 victims of a serious civilian train wreck that occured near their location
The President of South Korea awarded two Republic of Korea Presidential Citations to the 68th Hospital for their service.


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