UCC Anaesthesiology Newsletter

6 Jul 2023

Welcome to the summer edition

As the rotation comes to a close, we wish you all the best of luck as you change jobs/towns/countries. It is a good time to reflect on achievements, including exam successes and completing the anaesthesiology training scheme. We especially thank Dr Clare Keaveney Jimenez (SAT 3, CUH) for her sterling work as editor of this newsletter. We thank Dr Claire Healy (SAT 3, CUH) who will take over this role.

We hear of social gatherings, kayaking and poetry. On a historical note, this edition also introduces us to Dr James Barry, a brilliant army surgeon from Cork who performed the first documented caesarian section where both mother and baby survived, who clashed with the Lady with the Lamp and who had a dark secret.

We hope that you enjoy this edition. We would also encourage you all to stay in touch and we would love to continue to receive submissions from friends and colleagues from both within the region and from more exotic places.


Learning Analytics and training of Health Care Professionals, ASSERT, UCC:

ASSERT, UCC, have begun a collaboration with the Department of Anaesthesia, CUH, and the SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the application of Learning Analytics to the training of health professionals. The initial project will focus on the use of audio and video material acquired in a simulation environment to enhance feedback for doctors' communication skills. This builds on earlier work of Dr Harry Nguyen Dept of Computer Science UCC in the area of reliable AI.


Mixed Reality Headsets for Procedural Training, Euroanaesthesia Conference 2023:

Dr. Murray Connolly will be joining the department as a Consultant Anaesthesiologist in September of this year. He is a proud Corkonian, having completed his medical degree, internship and much of his subspecialty training in Cork. Murray has backgrounds in Trauma and Obstetric Anaesthesia, and an interest in the use of Technology-Enhanced Learning in medical training.

Pictured here, Murray recently presented his research evaluating the use of Mixed Reality headsets in procedural training at the Euroanaesthesia Conference in Glasgow.


Departmental updates:

On-line resource for Obstetric Anaesthesia, CUMH:

Dr Ray Kelly (SAT 5), Dr Oonagh Hickey (Consultant Anaesthetist) and Dr Atilla Bondar (Consultant Anaesthetist) have developed an on-line resource for anaesthetic trainees who are starting the obstetric anaesthetic module at the CUMH. This bundle includes important guidelines, useful journal articles and commonly encountered clinical scenarios. The Anaesthesia for Obstetrics document that was initially prepared by Dr Fergus Walsh, Consultant Anaesthetist, has been updated and expanded. This document has been a fantastic resource for trainees over the years and contains many pearls of wisdom.

Much gratitude is due to the anaesthetists and the members of the CUMH theatre team whose input has been invaluable in creating this resource, especially Dr Jo Fish (SAT 2) and Dr Kim O’Brien (SAT 3). Dr O’Brien has kindly agreed to take a lead role in the implementation of this initiative. The hope is that this on-line resource will better equip anaesthetic trainees who are commencing the obstetric anaesthetic module and will lead to improved delivery of care to the mothers and babies of the region.


CUH Kayaking outing:

Dr Sara Coffey, SAT 1, CUH (photo, yellow helmet)

The final departmental outing of the year was the annual day of kayaking at Oysterhaven Activity Centre. It started out peacefully enough but quickly the splashing started, with Dr Niamh Coughlan (photo) managing to tip herself out of her own kayak while trying to capsize her opponent (which is a fun new skill).

After a lovely paddle around the cove, we proceeded to the Moonwalk, where your truly finally (after 3 years of trying) made it to the end of the green sausage! Dr Serchin Moodley’s high-knee step proved to be a good technique (photo), and there was much hilarity along with the splashing as we all tried to conquer the slippery green float. 

Finally it was time to hop on the stand-up paddle boards. Admittedly, some had a more challenging time than others with slightly deflated boards leading to rapidly deflated egos as some found it more difficult to stand up (or remain there once they got there). But once underway, the earlier splashing and capsizing resumed, with Dr Kevin McSweeney (SIVUH) making waves and causing many to lose balance. 

As always, it was a great day out. 

Thank you to everyone who came along and thank you to everyone who came along to our social events this year. It has been great getting to know you. 

Best of luck, wherever you are heading next!

Editors note- we would like to thank Dr Sara Coffey and Dr Niamh Coughlan for taking so many photos and for the fabulous home baked cookies that we had for our post kayaking picnic (photo)! We want to also thank them for their sterling work in organising many successful social outings during this rotation.

We also want to thank the Oysterhaven Activity Centre for taking such good care of us, as usual.


CUH Departmental Anaesthesia Summer Dinner:

Members of the CUH Anaesthetic Department gathered on the 9th June for the Summer Departmental Dinner at the Farmgate Cafe in the historical setting of the Old English Market. This provided an opportunity for the department to thank the anaesthetic doctors in training for their hard work during the rotation and to celebrate their achievements during this time.

The Department is grateful to the staff of The Farmgate Cafe for the excellent service and food, much of which was sourced in the Old English Market.


CUH Coffee and a Gas:

On Monday, 26th June, the CUH Anaesthetic Department held its final Coffee and a Gas of the rotation, and gourmet sandwiches and cupcakes were provided by Hannah’s Kitchen. This provided an opportunity for members of the department to catch up before many of our colleagues move on in July. We also said farewell to Dr Zohaib Aslam and Dr Florian Deleu (Consultant Anaesthetists).

More treats!

Dr Annlin Bejoy Philip, Consultant Anaesthetist, CUH, ordered celebratory pizza to mark her success in the recent FJFICMI Fellowship exam. Dr Aniqa Banu, ICU Fellow CUH, brought in buns for the CUH Anaesthetic Department and for the Multidisciplinary Theatre Staff Room on her last day. Dr Damien Barry, Consultant Anaesthetist, also sent in gourmet sandwiches and cakes from Hannah’s Kitchen for the CUH Anaesthetic Department and we all wish him well with his new role as Consultant Anaesthetist at the Bons Secours. Cork. Dr John O’Connell, Consultant Anaesthetist, also spoiled us with nice cheeses and other treats on his last day, and we wish him well in his adventures in New Zealand.

Any excuse for a party!


Poetry corner:

Dr Brian O’Brien, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, CUH, has continued his literary adventures with a recent publication of a Limerick about Robert Boyle’s observations on the behaviour of gas in Anaesthesia News.

O’Brien B, Limerick Corner. Anaesthesia News 2023: Issue 428; 16.

Limerick corner

In committing reams of information to memory, medical students often resort to mnemonics, frequently crude in their nature. An alternative approach is to create a memorable way to state the issue, either succinct, humorous or both. I previously tried to express several of the Gas Laws in haiku form [1], which required an enormous focus on brevity, of course, paring the concept to its essence.

An alternative is to try to state what needs to be remembered as a limerick. It’s a longer form – indeed, probably longer than the original law – but allows some element of humour to be introduced. Robert Boyle was from an area, Lismore, near the border of counties Cork and Waterford and made insightful observations on the behaviour of gases in the 1600’s.

His conclusion:

At constant temperature, the volume of a gas is inversely proportional to its pressure.


Said Boyle on the strand down at Youghal,

As he worked to inflate a beach ball,

If I give it some squeezes

The pressure increases,

And did temperature change - not at all!

If nothing else, it teaches the correct pronunciation of one of the best beaches in the south of Ireland (just like the Texan ‘y’all’).

I wonder if other readers can find ways, humorous or profound, to express scientific principles in poetry?


Brian O’Brien


Department of Anaesthesia

Cork University Hospital, Cork



1. O’Brien B. Gas laws stated as haiku – poem. Irish Medical Journal; 2022: 115; 568.

Editors note:

Visitors to the historic St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal can view the Boyle memorial, created by Sir Richard Boyle (1566-1643), 1st Earl of Cork, which includes his infant son Robert Boyle. Robert Boyle was a founder member of the Royal Society in 1660 and published his findings on the relationships of pressure and volume in 1662, becoming known as the “Father of Chemistry”.

One wonders how many times Robert Boyle did indeed stroll down Youghal Beach, deep in thought, but it is unknown if he ever attempted to inflate a beach ball.

The Boyle Memorial - Boyle's Law - United Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross (


Dr James Barry, a brilliant doctor with a secret:

Dr James Barry was a famous army surgeon who was born in Cork City in 1798. With a father in debtors’ prison, family friends paid for this bright young Corkonian to study medicine at Edinburgh University. A career as a surgeon in the British Army followed, rising to the rank of Surgeon General. Posted all over the British Empire, Dr Barry became a pioneer in public health and reform as well as a campaigner against slavery.

In 1826, Dr Barry performed the first documented caesarean section where both the mother and baby survived. The surgeon's first name persists as a family name for this family to this day.

Welcomed in high society, Dr Barry was a popular dancing partner with the ladies- but never married. This doctor had a notoriously bad temper, apparently slashing a fellow officer on the face with a riding crop when he remarked on the doctor’s feminine appearance. Dr Barry also feuded with Florence Nightingale, the person credited with being the promoter of modern nursing practices and with implementing hygiene standards in hospitals. A vegetarian and non-drinker, Dr Barry travelled with a goat for milk production, as well as with trusted servant John and beloved dog Psych (photo).

Dr Barry requested to be buried in the clothes that were worn at the time of death, but these instructions were not followed. Dying from dysentery in 1865, a scandalous secret was discovered after death. As a result, Dr Barry and the associated achievements were written out of the history books. It even was reported that Florence Nightingale rejoiced in this surgeon’s posthumous fall from grace.

Who was our brilliant and eccentric army surgeon?

Dr James Barry was born Margaret Ann Bulkley- a woman!!!

The Extraordinary Secret Life of Dr. James Barry | HISTORY





Dr Clare Keaveney Jimenez, SpR, CUH.

Dr Oonagh Hickey, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, CUH


Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine