Dressing a pedicle graft, Rooksdown House, Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke
Canadian Nursing Sister Cornish, who was trained at Montreal General Hospital, dressing a reconstruction of external auditory canal and lobe of ear by tube pedicle from the neck attached to the lobe of the ear. The Nursing Sisters Association of Canada served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and trained in Canada before working overseas. Canadian nurses joined hospitals including the unit at Rooksdown House, the private wing of Park Prewett Mental Hospital, Basingstoke, which was converted into a plastic surgery unit during the Second World War. Sir Harold Gillies, a pioneering plastic surgeon and Consultant Advisor to the Ministry of Health, established and worked in the unit, and had earlier invented the ‘waltzing tube pedicle’, or pedicle graft: a flap of skin fashioned into a tube, attached at both ends to the patient’s body, was removed and reattached (or ‘walked’) until it reached the area needing the graft. The method reduced infection rates, a common complication before antibiotics, as the original blood supply remained intact throughout. The method was later developed by Archibald McIndoe. The plastic surgery unit at Rooksdown House continued operating until 1959.