During the recent Australasian Military Medicine Association (AMMA) conference in Adelaide in early November, I was fortunate to stumble upon a nearby antiquarian bookshop, where I found a copy of Surgeon Rear-Admiral T.T. Jeans “Reminiscences of a Naval Surgeon”, where he details his career as a naval medical officer and surgeon between 1895 and 1925. I hope to review his career in a later issue, but I was struck by some of his descriptions of treating wounded on 25 April 1915 onboard HMS Euryalus:
“Steam boats, dashing inshore, towed away the disabled transports’ boats and brought many alongside us, full of dead and wounded. From seven a.m. until nearly ten o’clock that night, Dr Devereux Marshall, Staff Surgeon, R.N.V.R. (of the Moorfield Eye Hospital) and myself worked without ceasing. The whole of one side of our battery-deck became crowded with wounded; and in the sick-bay, under the foc’s’le, it almost was impossible to move about until many of those brought there, in the first rush, died and were carried aft. To add to our troubles, the ship went to action-quarters, skylights and deadlights were screwed down, the electric light failed when the 9.2 inch overhead commenced firing, and we had to work for some time by candle light.” (p. 251)
As a Journal dedicated to military and veteran’s health, we need to constantly reflect on how we can better provide military health services in both conflict and peace, remember the challenges face by our forerunners in this field, and continue to master the new techniques, methods and research that can make us better practitioners in this field. While our submissions numbers continue to slowly grow, we always are looking for more good military and veterans’ health articles. Now that we have moved to full Open Access, with recognition by the Directory of Open Access Journals, authors may like to consider the wider exposure that publication will bring to their articles, particularly as publication is peer-reviewed and without any authors fees or other costs. We are also interested in operational articles, highlighting the issues and lessons learned in the field, which we will put through an accelerated peer review process.
In this issue, we are presenting the abstracts from the recent AMMA Conference and two excellent articles, including an original article on simulation in military training and a historical article on arsenic, which formed the basis of a number of early chemical weapons.
As we move into 2014, we will have further themed issues and ask prospective authors to consider whether they may have suitable articles for these themed issues. In particular, we are very keen to get articles for our special World War One issue in April 2014. Other military and veterans’ health articles are always very welcome and we would encourage all our readers to consider writing on their areas of military or veterans’ health interest. I would also like to wish all our readers a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year.
Dr Andy Robertson, CSC, PSM