Kings College - Trauma and Orthopaedics Talk

On the 17th of October, I was able to attend a talk by the Kings College Medicine Outreach Programme given by a consultant in the department of Trauma and Orthopaedics in Guys Hospital, a department involved in the management of musculoskeletal diseases, injuries and conditions (e.g. broken bones). During the lecture, we heard about what the typical day for a Trauma/Orthopaedic doctor is like, learning the steps of the procedure to examine a patient, and the current system in most local hospitals.

It was especially emphasised that the very first thing any doctor must do when they are with a patient is take a history, gathering vital information on familial disease history, previous injuries, and how and why the patient has come to be in hospital that day. The next step is then to examine the patient, thorough assessment is necessary as many complicated injuries have effects on the body that would not be otherwise visible; at least not until they become dangerous. This can be done through X-Rays; a CT, MRI, or ultrasound depending on the type of injury; a step in the process that has greatly expanded and grown with the development of new medical technology.

Even within this general procedure, we were told about how within every injury there is another more specific procedure that doctors follow in order to ensure that their patient is not at all at risk, and medication is only prescribed when necessary and for the right reasons. For example, patients who have been identified to have a fracture (so X-Rays have already been done to confirm this) must go through step 1- countertraction when the bone is physically pulled into place by a couple of orthopaedic doctors. The ‘absolute or relative stability’ is provided (such as a cast), and simultaneously the doctors are also aiming for maximum preservation of blood supply; the main goal being to restore mobility as quickly as possible.

The talk was very interesting and useful, especially to provide an insight into the general workings and efficiency of the NHS. It is clear that when so many things can go wrong with even the smallest of injuries, doctors must always be examining and focusing on their patients intently; a fact it seems could not be more true for the trauma and orthopaedics department.

Mahwish Ali 12T

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