World War I Devastation and the American Hospital of Paris

The First World War was unprecedented in its scale and impact, forcing medicine to respond and evolve. At the American Hospital in Paris, doctors developed better anesthesia and a precursor to the modern ambulance, among other advances. When the war broke out in August 1914, Americans in France and at home joined efforts to restructure, equip and staff a 600-bed military hospital in the Lycée Pasteur building in Neuilly-sur-Seine, under management of the nearby American Hospital of Paris. Volunteers from the expatriate community and from the United States stepped forward to serve as doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers, funded through an unprecedented wave of giving. The American Hospital became the epicenter of these volunteer efforts, organizing the first motor-ambulance squad, setting up field hospitals and convalescent centers, and bringing modern medicine to treat terrible war wounds. NBC’s Lucy Kafanov reports for Nightly News.