Monday, 17 May 2010

View Day at St Bartholomew's Hospital 12th May 2010

In 1551 the new governors of St Bartholomew's hospital initiated an annual inspection to review the state of the hospital and receive suggestions for improvement. Today Bart's Hospital still opens its doors annually to a visit by the Livery and other supporters, this year including the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and their ladies.
The afternoon starts with choral evensong at St Bartholomew the Great, which is the original church founded with its priory for looking after travellers and the sick in 1123.

Later, we had the opportunity to visit the new cancer centre, which is just opening. We saw the most amazing bits of kit for treating cancerous tissue with extraordinary precision while leaving vulnerable, healthy organs undamaged. For example, if you have throat cancer, the treatment can unintentionally affect your saliva glands, so that for the rest of your life you have no saliva - horrid. With the new treatment, this no longer happens.
In one instance, the entire piece of equipment, weighing several tonnes, rotates around the patient; in another, the specialists create a plastic mesh mould for each patient which holds them almost completely still and in exactly the same place for each treatment. (This reminded me of the way that Formula 1 drivers have their seats individually moulded to their backsides.)
If ever I had cancer, this is where I would want to be treated.

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