Hopkins on the Western Front: Base Hospital No. 18
The Johns Hopkins Hospital Base Hospital No. 18 came into being in 1916, just prior to US entry into the conflict. That year, Surgeon General William C. Gorgas was taking precautions by seeking out ways to build up medical reserves for the US Army. Securing adequate supplies and personnel for hospitals was a challenge while the US remained neutral. Dr. George C. Crile, Chief of Surgery at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland and a US Medical Corps veteran, presented him with a solution that stuck. Crile suggested creating reserve base hospitals out of existing institutions. Under the auspices of the American Red Cross and the US Army, 50 of the country’s leading hospitals were recruited to create and outfit units that Gorgas could deploy to Europe in the event of war.
One such institution was the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Over the course of 1916 and early 1917, a group of Hopkins doctors, nurses, and advanced medical students came together to form Base Hospital No. 18. After the US officially declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917, the “Johns Hopkins Unit” finished preparations and departed for France on June 14. Base Hospital No. 18 was the first hospital of the American Expeditionary Forces to set up in France after the US officially entered the conflict. The facility was located outside of a village in Lorraine called Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, where it served both Americans and the French. Base Hospital No. 18 operated in France from July 26, 1917 until December 21, 1918. The war officially ended on November 11, 1918, and the Unit was discharged on February 25, 1919.
Visit the Johns Hopkins Training School for Nurses section of this exhibit to learn more about nurses at Johns Hopkins Base Hospital No. 18.