Not least because of the outstanding international reputation of the Vienna school of medicine, at the outbreak of the First World War Vienna had a very well developed hospital infrastructure for its time. In the years before the war, between 120,000 and 140,000 patients were treated in hospitals every year, a large number given the state of medicine and the health care system at the time. For a protracted war using modern weaponry, however, it was much too little. The first result of the hostilities was that severely wounded soldiers had to be accommodated alongside civilian patients. The enormous demand for hospital staff and beds led to the construction of eight “barrack hospitals”. But even this wasn’t enough and for that reason a number of public buildings were converted into temporary hospitals and clinics. According to a Vienna police report in March 1915, there were 266 “other hospital facilities” alongside the forty genuine hospitals.
Translation: Nick Somers