Wirral surgical team feature in film for The Hunterian Museum

Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) is involved in the relaunch of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, by taking part in a video showing an orthopaedic operation on an ankle joint, performed by a team led by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Miss Gillian Jackson.

The reopening of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons takes place on Tuesday 16 May 2023.

The Museum, named after the 18th-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793), reopens following a five-year redevelopment of the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London.

The £4.6 million museum development includes the display of over 2,000 anatomical preparations from Hunter’s original collection, alongside instruments, equipment, models, paintings and archive material, which trace the history of surgery from ancient times to the latest robot-assisted operations. The Museum includes England’s largest public display of human anatomy.

The reopening is set to bring to life an incredible display of surgical history and innovation. The WUTH surgical team was led by orthopaedic surgeon Miss Gillian Jackson, highlighting the talent and skill of female surgeons in a field that is traditionally male dominated, with just a fifth of all surgeons being women, and only 11% female trauma and orthopaedic surgeons.

The filmed surgery, which took place in 2022, highlights the critical role of surgical teams and highlights the care required to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients. The film of the surgery is a testament to the skill and commitment of the surgical team at WUTH and demonstrates the precise and delicate techniques used to repair an ankle fracture.

The surgery video is now part of a film displayed alongside interviews with surgeons and their patients. Through time-lapse editing, a 90-minute operation is condensed to just ten minutes, allowing viewers to witness the intricate ballet-like choreography and close teamwork involved in a surgical procedure.

The film offers a unique insight into surgical care and highlights the importance of teamwork. The film also can be found on the Hunterian Museum website hunterianmuseum.org

The Hunterian Museum also features an exquisite artwork by internationally renowned artist, Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), called ‘Concourse (2)’ which shows an operation scene with all of the surgical team focused and attentive on the care of their patient.

The newly commissioned film of the orthopaedic surgery is displayed close to the artwork, with the film reflecting the teamwork and coordination exemplified in Hepworth’s painting. The Hunterian Museum, with free admission for all, is at the centre of the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s public engagement, exploring the art and science of surgery from ancient times to the present day. It is one of the most influential medical museums in the world.

Dr Nikki Stevenson, Medical Director at Wirral University Teaching Hospital said, “Wirral University Teaching Hospital is proud and honoured to have been part of this project, highlighting the talent of women in surgery, through Miss Jackson and her team, and showing the significance of teamwork in providing excellent care for patients.

I hope also that the film will encourage women to follow Miss Jackson’s example to work in the NHS and consider surgery as a career.” 

Miss Gillian Jackson said, “We were honoured to be asked to contribute to the Hunterian Museum in this new exhibit. It has been a wonderful experience and opportunity. I’m so proud of everyone involved in the filming.

The film demonstrates that surgery is not just the work of the surgeon, it’s about a whole team of dedicated professionals – nurses, anaesthetists, operating theatre practitioners, healthcare assistants and radiographers – all with a vital role in an operation, using skills, care and precision in our work, in order to improve patients’ lives. Surgery is a hugely rewarding career and I hope the film will inspire young people, especial young women, to join the profession.”

Dawn Kemp, RCSEng, Director of Museums and Special Collections, said, ‘’Many people never get to witness a whole operation from start to finish and to appreciate just how many skilled and committed people are involved in the care of each patient. We are very grateful to Gillian Jackson, her team at Wirral University Hospital and most importantly, their patient, for their generosity in allowing us all this exceptional ‘behind the scenes’ view.

The film, taken from one fixed vantage point and with a fast frame application, which shows the whole operation in just ten minutes, has the feel of a beautifully choreographed ballet. It is mesmerising and profoundly moving. Thank you everyone at WUTH for helping make the Hunterian Museum such an enriching experience.’’

The Royal College of Surgeons hopes that the reopening of the museum will be an inspiration for healthcare professionals, science students, and the public.

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