VOS: MASH - Part 1

Vascular Origin Stories is a podcast series that explores the fun and engaging stories that shaped vascular surgery.


Today’s episode will be the first part of a multi-episode series exploring how the young battalion surgeons serving in MASH units in the Korean war pioneered wartime vascular repair. This episode introduces the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH), as well as some of the real-life stories from the surgeons unknowingly changing the field of medicine which inspired the hit movie and TV series M*A*S*H.  We’ll look at what caused arterial repair to be removed from the army surgical handbook after WWI, and how changing medical education helped create the environment for ingenuity in the MASH units that followed. In part 2 we’ll explore in detail the individual stories of adversity, courage and perseverance that led to the re-introduction of arterial repair in the military.


Major sources for the episode are linked below, and a full reference list can be found at the bottom of the page. 





  1. Robinson, A. Galen: Life Lessons from Gladiatorial Contests. The Lancet Perspective. Vol 382, Is. 9904. November 2013.
  2. Friedman, S.G. A History of Vascular Surgery. Futura Publishing. 1989.
  3. Van Way, C. War and Trauma: A History of Military Medicine. Mo Med. 2016 Jul-Aug;113(40:260-263
  4. Hernigou, P. Ambroise Pare II: Pare’s contributions to amputation and ligature. Int Orthop. 2013 Apr; 37(4): 769-772 
  5. Van Way, C. War and Trauma: A History of Military Medicine- PArt II. Mo Med. 2016 Sep-Oct; 113 950:336-340
  6. Apel, O. Apel, P. MASH: An Army Surgeon in Korea. The University Press of Kentucky. 1998. 
  7. King, B. Jatoi, I. The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH): A Military and Surgical Legacy. Journal of the National Medical Association. Vol. 97, No 5. May 2005.
  8. Friedman, S.  Korea, MASH and the Accidental Pioneers of Vascular Surgery. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2007. 
  9. Wesselingh, R. From Milites Medici to Army Medics- A two Thousand Year Tradition of Military Medicine. Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health. Vol 16, No 4
  10. Gabriel, R. Between Flesh and Steel: A History of Military Medicine from the Middle Ages to the War in Afghanistan. Potomac Books. 2016
  11. Jorgensen,T.J. How Marie Curie Brought X-Ray Machines To the Battlefield. Smithsonian Magazine. Oct 11. 2017
  12. Of Life and Limb: Surgical Repair of the Arteries in War and Peace, 1880-1960. Joseph Barr. University of Rochester Press; 1st edition. November 1, 2019. 
  13. Duffy, T.P. The Flexner Report- 100 Years Later.  Yale Journal of Biological Medicine. 2011 Sep;84(3): 269-276 
  14. Andrew Dale. Band of Brother: Creators of Modern Vascular Surgery. Deweese. 1996
  15. John Kobler. The Reluctant Surgeon, a Biography of John Hunter. Doubleday and Company. 1960
  16. Eugene Custers, Ollen ten Cate.The History of Medical Education in Europe and the United States, With Respect to Time and Proficiency. Academic Medicine. March 2018-Vol. 93 Is. 3S
  17. Kapp, K. Talbot, G. John Hunter, The Father of Scientific Surgery. The American College of Surgeons. Poster CC2017 
  18. “Alpha Omega Alpha’ History”. Website
  19. Kenneth M. Ludmerer. Learning to Heal: The Development of American Medical Education. Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. New York. 1985
  20. Richard Hooker and WC Heinz.  MASH: A Novel About Three Army Surgeons. Pocket Books. 1968. 
  21. Jahnke Jr., E.J., Seeley S.F. Acute vascular injuries in the Korean War: an analysis of 77 consecutive cases. Ann Surg. 1953; 138: 158-177

Author + Host:

  • Marlene Garcia-Neuer (@GarciaNeuer) is a PGY1 General Surgery Resident at Mayo Clinic Arizona.


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Author: Marlene Garcia-Neuer

Editor: Sharif Ellozy

Reviewer: Eilidh Gunn

Music and Sound Effects from Pixabay, special thanks to ZakharValaha and BlenderTimer.