With hands on hearts
Visitors enjoy open day at hospital operating theatre
HAREFIELD Hospital treated the public to a rare look at its operating theatre last Thursday.
As part of its centenary celebrations, around 400 patients, visitors and staff – including Hillingdon Mayor George Cooper – learned about the specialist work that goes on every day in the hospital’s cardiac, thoracic and transplant theatres.
Specialists were on hand to tell visitors about an array of fascinating mechanical devices and procedures.
The mayor used medical tongs to examine a pig’s heart and performed a video-assisted thoracoscopy (a minimally invasive surgery) and bronchoscopy (inserting a long, flexible tube into the lung’s airways) on a dummy.
Other equipment on display included ventricular assist devices, mechanical pumps that are used to support a failing heart, often while patients wait for a transplant, and cardiopulmonary bypass, the pump which temporarily takes over the work of the heart and lungs during surgery.
There were also demonstrations of the Organ Care System, the pioneering organ retrieval technology used at Harefield, which is one of the world’s leading heart and lung transplant centres, to keep organs in optimum condition before they are transplanted.
Jackie Burbidge, theatres manager at the hospital, said: “Hundreds of lives are saved at Harefield every year thanks to the skills of our specialist surgical teams.
“The open day was a chance to showcase the cutting-edge technologies and techniques used at the hospital.
“It was also heartening for us to see patients again who previously had surgery here, as it reminds us of how privileged we are to make a difference to their lives.”
Visitors also observed a simulated heart operation with vein harvesting (when a vein from the leg is used to bypass blockages in the coronary arteries), and were shown on a dummy how patients are ventilated while under anaesthetic.
Mekial Khan, 13, from Hayes, whose father Nadeem Khan works at Harefield Hospital, was among the visitors.
He said: “I really enjoyed the open day - especially getting to touch and dissect the heart and lungs! When I am older I would like to work in medicine and after today, I think I’d like to be a heart surgeon.
“The technology we saw was really cool and all the doctors and nurses explained everything very well.”
n HANDS ON: Siblings Gibraial, Mekial and Laiba Khan (right) look at pig lungs with Sophia Wang, theatre practitioner n PIECE OF THEATRE: The Mayor trying his hand at video-assisted thoracoscopy n INSIGHT:INSIG The Mayor with 25-year-old Georgina Compton and her mother Anne. Georgina has cystic fibrosis and recently had a double-lung transplant at Harefield
n AIR WAY: Gibraial Khan (left), Laiba Khan and Farhaj Hussain watch on as Philip Deacon, anaesthetic practitioner, demonstrates to Mekial Khan how to ventilate a patient under anaesthesia