Daughter of pioneering plastic surgeon attends event celebrating our history

Friday 27th April 2018

Daughter of pioneering plastic surgeon attends event celebrating our history

An event celebrating a unique archive project which included preserving clinical notes from pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe held on Friday (20 April) had a special guest – his daughter Adonia Montfort Bebb.

Since 2016, Queen Victoria Hospital has been working in partnership with West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, East Grinstead Museum, and The Guinea Pig Club on the Queen Victoria Hospital Archive Project. The project, funded by a grant from the Wellcome Trust, centered around preserving the hospital’s archives from the 1930s and WWII. This included cataloguing around 14,500 patient case files and digitising the records of members of the Guinea Pig Club, the group of wounded WWII allied aircrew who received pioneering plastic and reconstructive surgery at the hospital.

The painstaking project has created an archive will be used by medical researchers and historians for generations to come. It also includes the only known set of McIndoe notes held in an archive.

Sir Archibald McIndoe’s daughter Adonia, along with around 100 people who attended the event, had the opportunity to learn more about the project, including seeing some of the records her father wrote thanks to a presentation by Joanna McConville, archivist at the West Sussex Record Office. She was followed by Baljit Dheansa, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, who explained how modern day plastic surgery is based on many of the experimental techniques and equipment used by McIndoe and fellow pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gilles.

Baljit Dheansa said: “Learning from the past helps our treatment for the future. We’re still embracing McIndoe’s pioneering spirit, for example the strides we’re making in telemedicine where our team of experienced clinicians can review photographs of injuries at any time of day or night, regardless of where in the south east the patient is located.”

Mr Dheansa and his team are hoping to help take Queen Victoria Hospital’s telemedicine to the next level by developing an app version of the system which can be used by medical professionals in hospitals, paramedics and other clinicians to provide faster feedback and referral to specialist if required.

QVH Charity, which supports the hospital with funding for innovate projects such as this, will be supporting the team in raising the funds to develop this product. If you would like to find out more about how you can support the hospital charity please email Camilla Slattery at the QVH Charity at Camilla.slattery@nhs.net or phone 01342 414170. You can also find out more on www.supportqvh.org

West Sussex Record Office will be taking a travelling display explaining the Queen Victoria Hospital archive project all over West Sussex between now and May 2019. Current dates and locations are:

  • Crawley Library: w/c Monday 30 April – Thursday 31 May
  • Bognor Library: Friday 1 June – Thursday 28 June
  • West Sussex Record Office, Chichester: Monday 2 July  – mid August
  • East Grinstead Museum: mid-August – end September (exact dates to be confirmed)
  • Littlehampton Library: Monday 1 October – Thursday 25 October
  • Pulborough Library: Thursday 1 November – Thursday 29 November
  • Horsham Library: Monday 3 December – Friday 28 December
  • Haywards Heath Library: Thursday 10 January – Thursday 31 January 2019
  • Worthing Library: Thursday 5 February – Thursday 28 February 2019
  • Shoreham Library: Thursday 7 March – Thursday 28 March 2019
  • Chichester Library: Thursday 4 April – Tuesday 30 April 2019
  • East Grinstead Library: Thursday 2 May 2019 – Thursday 30 May 2019

Back row (left to right) Andrew Rackley, archivist who commenced the project; Bob Marchant, Trustee of East Grinstead Museum and Secretary of The Guinea Pig Club; Gordon Bebb, grandson of Sir Archibald McIndoe; Baljit Dheansa, QVH Consultant Plastic Surgeon.

Front row (left to right) Joanna McConville, archivist from West Sussex Record Office; Adonia Montfort Bebb, Sir Archibald McIndoe’s daughter; Beryl Hobson, QVH Chair of Governors.

For more information please contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.