Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Separating conjoined twins

would be difficult enough but to be involved from half a world away is, as one of those on the team from Great Ormond Street Hospital put it "man on Mars stuff". 

It has to be the most extraordinary and disciplined sort of surgery there is. It is complex. It is dangerous. It requires hours of training for a specific operation. It requires discipline.

I have occasionally been very peripherally involved in surgical procedures. My role has been simple really. All I had to do was provide a "communication board" - something which has allowed people who speak different languages to communicate with each other. This has sometimes been needed in more remote parts of the world where interpreters are thin on the ground and, even if available, they may not have the necessary vocabulary. 

Every time I have been asked to do this I have been in awe of what some people will attempt to do. I have had operations described where a wire coat hanger, a pocket knife and a strand of nylon like fibre from a climbing rope have been used to save someone's life. Yes, the person survived. 

We are so used to the idea that surgery only takes place in sterile circumstances. In reality it can take place under the most appalling conditions - and people do survive. 

A friend who is a keen surfer and works at GOSH emailed me about something else yesterday and I asked, "What was the mood like there?" His response was, "Concerned but when it was over it was almost like catching that elusive wave."  

Let's hope the two little boys survive and are able to enjoy relatively normal lives...and that they go out and catch the wave. 

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