Thursday, October 6, 2011
RADM Charles F. Stokes, Surgeon General (1910-1914)
Charles Francis Stokes (1863-1931) joined the Navy in 1889 as an assistant surgeon. During the Spanish-American War he served as a surgeon on USS Solace, and later was professor of surgery at the Naval Medical School. As commander of the hospital ship USS Relief, the first medical officer ever to do so, he ignited a controversy that shook up the senior Navy leadership. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1910. He is best known for his invention of the Stokes stretcher, still in use, which proved of great value used in the close confines of ships. He raised the professional standards of the Medical Corps, instituted prophylaxis which practically ended typhoid in the Navy, planned and built the naval hospital at Pearl Harbor, and initiated planning for two new hospital ships: USS Mercy and USS Relief.