Firstly, can you tell us about your career so far?
I started medical school in 2005 at the University of Southampton. I’ve always been interested in surgery and knew early on I wanted to be a plastic surgeon because of the diversity and creativity it offers. I completed my foundation and core surgical training in Salisbury District Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth. I then went on to work as a clinical fellow in Bristol for 6 months after which I achieved my national training number in Plastic surgery in the Thames Valley and Wessex deanery. I am currently an ST3 plastic surgery registrar.
You are currently working on a study assessing the size of paediatric burns, how did this project arise?
My project is to create a way of measuring small burns in the paediatric population in order to improve the accuracy of burn size estimation and inter-professional communication especially over long distances and in remote areas. It started off as an idea in clinic as we realised that the majority of burns seen in the outpatient setting were small, and many of those were <1% of total body surface area. When describing these types of burns, using percentages was non-specific and conveyed very little information to the consultant. We therefore designed an ID sized card displaying various shapes and their surface areas. In addition, the back of the card has a colour palette illustrating the depth of different burns. I recruited 30 people to estimate burns on 4 dolls (each doll had 6 burns drawn on them) and compared how close people were in their estimations. The results showed that actually the majority of people were very similar. I presented these findings at the International Society for Burn Injuries Congress 2016 which was held in Miami. I did this project under the supervision of Mr. Tim Burge (Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeon, Bristol). We now need to apply for ethical approval to trial the card in clinical practice.
How do you hope it will impact on future burns care?
Our hope is that this card will help to improve communication between clinicians, especially when communicating over the telephone and access to a burn facility is difficult.
By Lauren Jackson, Restore Student Fellow