On December 9, 39 members and friends of the military community of Cooper University Health Care visited the site of Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware River on a learning trip sponsored by the Section of Military, Diplomatic and Field Surgical Affairs (MILDAF) of the Division of Trauma at Cooper University Health Care.
The purpose of the trip was to gain an appreciation of the significance of the events of the American Revolutionary War on Christmas night in 1776, analyze some of the medical conditions that resulted, and discuss how the military medical community would respond today. The group toured Washington Crossing Parks on both Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river with learning lessons throughout the tour.
For example, during the crossing of the Delaware River and march to Trenton in 1776, two members of the Continental Army died of hypothermia. As part of the event, Patrick Morris, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University Class of 2026, discussed and provided a demonstration of hypothermia based upon the Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines.
“Our trip to Washington Crossing served as a way to bring together the military and civilian medical communities and learn lessons from the battlefield long ago. There is much we can learn from our region’s unique history,” said Dr. John Chovanes, chief trauma surgeon at Cooper and Colonel US Army Reserve, who serves as the director of Section of Military, Diplomatic and Field Surgical Affairs (MILDAF).
Participants included medical students from Cooper Medical School Rowan University, Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, active duty Army soldiers, including many involved in the Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training (SMART) Program at Cooper, along with a number of civilian Cooper team members.
Similar events are being planned for the future for other nearby historical sites including the Princeton Battlefield and Valley Forge.