The modern treatment of burns, Queen Victoria Hospital, Holtye Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex

The modern treatment of burns, Queen Victoria Hospital, Holtye Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex
Photograph taken 20 December 1940 © Source: Historic England Archive ref: med01_01_1341

The application of the tulle gras dressings to burns. Note that the patient is lying on his own bed in a cubicle that is kept heated by lamps overhead to prevent loss of body heat. Tulle gras is a gauze dressing or bandage usually impregnated with soft paraffin oil, balsalm of Peru, and olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the wound. In September 1939, Archibald McIndoe arrived at the Queen Victoria Hospital to run the new Centre for Plastic and Jaw Surgery, bringing with him key members of his operating theatre staff. McIndoe was the Consultant Plastic Surgeon to the RAF, and during his time at the Queen Victoria Hospital treated thousands of patients who had suffered burns. The medical techniques he used were pioneering, and went on to form the basis of burns treatment worldwide. McIndoe treated burn injuries by keeping the wounds open, washing wounds with saline, and regularly changing dressings. The discovery that saline could be used to promote healing was, some say, a serendipitous discovery following observation of the healing rates of injured pilots who had landed in the sea. In addition to developing these treatments, McIndoe recognised the importance of social rehabilitation of patients. In 1947 McIndoe received a knighthood. The Queen Victoria Hospital remains renowned in England for its expertise and treatment of burns.

Location

West Sussex East Grinstead

Period

World War Two (1939 - 1945)

Tags

medicine health people men women nurse doctor patient hospital