UCC Anaesthesiology Newsletter March-April 2022 The College of Anaesthesiologists Tutors
Welcome to the March-April 2022 edition of your Newsletter.
As we pass the Spring Equinox, we look forward to brighter days, outdoor events, and hopefully more gatherings in the company of friends and colleagues.
This edition includes a Literary Corner for the first time. We feature contributions from Dr. Brian O’Brien (Consultant Anaesthesiologist, CUH) and Mr Finbarr Condon-English (3rd year Graduate Entry Medicine student, UCC) - both with Nobel prizes for literature in their sights - (Ed).
Thank you as always for taking the time to send your clinical, academic and social contributions. We would especially like to wish our friends and colleagues a Ramadan Mubarak.
The College of Anaesthesiologists Tutors: their role in Cork University Hospital
Dr Niamh, McAuliffe, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, Cork University Hospital (photographed on one of our departmental kayaking outings).
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”
The Department of Anaesthesiology at the Cork University Hospital is a thriving hub of medical education with over 50 anaesthesiologists at various levels of training in the speciality. The College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland runs a tutor programme to facilitate training and support to the large network of specialist trainees around the country. The role of the college tutor is to support the trainees and to maximise the training opportunities along the path to specialist registration. They form a key link between the college, hospital and trainees. There are currently four tutors in the department in the CUH - Dr Parvaiz Hafeez, Dr Padraig Mahon, Dr John Chandler and Dr Niamh McAuliffe.
“Being an anaesthetist is like being Batman. No-one knows who you are, no-one really knows what you do.….but when things go wrong, and chaos ensues, the answer will always be:…CALL THE ANAESTHETIST”.
The process of learning how to be Batman can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. From the initial tentative steps into the terrifying world of the operating theatre, exam success, and onward to full specialist certification and fellowship applications, each phase has its own distinct and unique stressors. The tutors in the CUH aim to provide support in navigating this pathway in the formal assessments at the beginning, middle and end of every 6 month rotation to discuss educational goals and progress. Less formal and often more necessary support frequently takes place outside of these assessments. This support can encompass anything from a casual chat over a cup of coffee, interview advice and frequently just providing a listening ear. Tutors often play a behind the scenes role in helping trainees who have difficulties with illness, bereavement, exams and the odd global pandemic! Facilitating career progression while supporting the trainee in negotiating challenges can be a difficult and rewarding balancing act for a college tutor.
Participating in the various team building activities organised outside the hospital can be just as important for team dynamics and professional development. Cycling, karting, kayaking and zip-lining have all played a role in pushing various tutors and trainees out of their comfort zones in recent years. We look forward to future team building activities in the coming months now that covid restrictions are lifted. Anyone for Axe Throwing??!
The CAI Simulation Training Program, ASSERT Centre, UCC:
After a strong start to 2022, simulation teaching at the state-of-the-art UCC ASSERT Centre goes from strength to strength. Dr. Anne-Marie Leo, Dr. Niamh McAuliffe and Dr. Oonagh Hickey would like to thank the candidates, faculty and staff at the ASSERT Centre for their hard work and enthusiasm during the recent AE, ARREST and SICC CAI Simulation courses. Anyone who is interested in joining the faculty may contact Dr. Hickey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be thrilled to hear from you!
Pictured above, Dr. Padraig Mahon, Dr. Kevin MacSweeney, Dr. Aaron Blake. Dr. Joanne Fish, Dr Nisha Chaudry, Dr Carolyn Hayes, Dr. Aisling Buckley and Dr. Oonagh Hickey.
Associate Professor of Pain Medicine, UCC
Our congratulations to Dr Dominic Hegarty, Consultant in Pain Management & Neuromodulation at the Orthopaedic and Spine Centre, Mater Private Hospital, Cork, who has been appointed as Associate Professor of Pain Medicine by UCC. The appointment is intended to support and develop teaching of Pain Medicine across the College of Medicine and Health. Dominic is President-elect of the World Institute of Pain and has an extensive track record in conducting and supervising clinical research related to the assessment and management of pain. He has a particular interest in developing education courses and programmes relevant to pain. We wish Dominic every success in his new role.
South of Ireland Association of Anaesthetists:
The South of Ireland Association of Anaesthetists (SIAA) has played an important role in the development of anaesthesiology in the region since 1955. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, the much awaited SIAA Spring meeting scheduled to be held on April 8th at the River Lee Hotel was postponed. The meeting has been rescheduled for June 3rd for the same venue, and we are looking forward to an educational and entertaining session,
Organising committee: Dr Jan Brohan, CUH; Dr Michael O’Sullivan, Bons Secours Hospital, Cork; Dr Owen O’Sullivan, MUH.
Haikus, the gas laws:
Brian O’Brien, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, CUH.
In an interview with UCC Anaesthesiology News, Dr. O’Brien told us that “the inspiration for much poetry involves endeavours to convey the beauty of nature. I am interested in the idea of stating laws of basic science in ways more elegant than the standard functional language. These are three of the gas laws stated as Haikus, the title of each being the creator of the law. As an anaesthesiologist, I need to know these things. More importantly though, in attempting to state a deep truth in so few syllables, you are forced to pare to its essence the reality it contains. It makes you look closely at patterns that ancient scientists identified, and wonder at the extraordinary insight noted by the giants upon whose shoulders Newton stood - the fact that such patterns exist at all”
- Henry -
Liquids dissolve gas
Directly in proportion to
Their partial pressure.
- Avogadro -
Moles, molecules and volumes
- Graham -
Gas diffusion rates
And their densities’ square roots
The Lung, by James Farrell:
Finbarr Condon-English, a 3rd year Graduate Entry Medicine student at UCC.
Finbarr was inspired by author J. G. Farrell’s account of his’ journey from illness to recovery, as told by chief protagonist Martin Sands. “The Lung” is well worth a read.
Sands was suffering from Poliomyelitis - a neurotropic virus graphically described by Sands as “huge ant like creatures slapping and crunching away with bared teeth and the succulent nerves of his spinal column”. Immediately the reader makes the connection with the current respiratory virus SARS-CoV-2, with a familiar empathy with the patient, as Sands took a deep breath to see if he could fill his lungs and the “will to live stirred and fluttered its wings like a freezing bird”. This empathy was forged by the global media coverage of frenetic medical personnel, grief-stricken relatives and daily data downloads attacking the senses. The book resonates with the reader in its contemporaneous relevance, prompted to read on and discover whether this battered specimen lives or dies.
Sands was incarcerated in an iron lung to collaborate his breathing efforts, yet an ungrateful inhabitant, unlike his prior fugitive days defined by “intermittent blocks of lightness and darkness deceptive and meaningless.” Eventually Sands was exhumed from the coffin, while he declared “I’ve exhausted the interest I once had in myself”, as he was transferred to a ward with other patients, where Exmoor, Harris and Wilson are domiciled, each with their own idiosyncratic complexities where Sands confessed “I’ve wasted my life for 40 years”.
While his own death had not been avoided by the lung merely “postponed”, sympathy for Sands finally dissipates when he states “I’m not sure she isn’t better off dead“, referring to a close attachment he had made with a young victim of leukaemia. The by now despondent reader ponders the doctor’s statement – “don’t ask too much of yourself. It takes time learning to live again”. However, the reader is aware such sympathy is wasted on the once departing, now salvaged patient who himself was an ardent critic of “inertia and mediocrity” the very essence of his pronouncement in “I’ve wasted 40 years of my life”.
Martin is a picaroon cheating death, albeit has had suicidal ideation. Exiting the hospital with Marigold, the reader wants to know more, as to whether this obturate man will embrace life and learn to live it for the first time. The irritated reader wants a sequel to the remaining years of Martin’s life.. however long?
Coffee and St. Patrick:
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the CUH Anaesthesiology Department held its second Coffee and a Gas Event of 2022 on March 16th. As a wellness initiative, this provides all members of the Department with an opportunity to catch up, relax and enjoy tasty treats in an informal supportive environment.
Pictured: Dr Laura Griseto, Dr Sershin Moodley.
CUH Anaesthesia Department Children's Art Competition:
In February, Dr Gilly De Loughry ran the very popular CUH Anaesthesia Department Annual Children’s Art Competition. whereby children, nieces, nephews, and nieces of boyfriends of members of the Department were invited to submit original works of art for scrutiny by our highly esteemed panel of judges. As previously, the standard was so high that each child was awarded a bag of sweets. We are proud to show here a few of these awesome creations.
There were three tins of chocolates left over and these were allocated at random to Dr Sophie Angelov, Dr Murray Connolly and Dr Joanne O’Brien.
Dr De Loughry is currently running a “Whose Pet is This?” photographic competition, and she is already gathering an impressive collection of photos of furry and feathered friends.
Boole is Cool:
Professor George Boole: first Professor of Mathematics, UCC, father of Boolean Logic.. and maybe inspiration for Sherlock Holmes' arch nemesis?
George Boole was born in Lincolnshire in England in 1815, the first child of a lady’s maid and a shoemaker. The family were not well off but his father had a passion for mathematics and science. George Boole was a man of great intellect and had many interests. He was mostly self-taught in mathematics, languages and philosophy. At 14, a local newspaper printed his translation of a Greek poem- which resulted in an accusation of plagiarism! At 16 years of age, he became the main breadwinner of his family when he took up a junior teaching role and at 19 he set up his own school. He also published a paper on polytheism in ancient Egypt and India. He set up a building society to benefit those on lower incomes, and campaigned to reduce the hours of labour in retail shops and to address the problem of prostitution. He corresponded with other mathematicians and began to publish research papers in mathematics. In 1844, his paper “On a general method in analysis” was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Society in London.
Having only received primary school formal education, in 1849 he was appointed as the first professor of mathematics at Queen’s College in Cork (now UCC). He developed a branch of algebra where the values of “truth” and “false” are denoted as “1” and “0”- now called Boolean Logic. This is fundamental to computer programming and mathematical logic. In 1862, he met with Charles Babbage, who- with Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron- designed an Analytical Machine- the first computer. George Boole was much admired, visiting students who were sick and assisting those with limited financial means.
In 1850 he met his wife, Mary Everest when she came to Queen’s College to visit her uncle, the Professor of Greek. She was interested in mathematics, education and spiritualism. She was a fascinating person in her own right (see link below). Their five daughters excelled in the fields of mathematics, chemistry and literature.
Unfortunately, George Boole developed a chest infection following a walk to the University in the rain. His wife believed that remedies should resemble the cause and wrapped him in wet blankets. He died in 1864 at the age of 49. After his death, his wife returned to England to work as a librarian at Queen’s College, London. There are rumours that she was in the same social circles as Sir Conan Doyle and that they did not get on. It has been suggested that the character of Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes books was based on him.
Many parts of the UCC complex, including the library and some lecture theatres, carry his name. In 2015 to mark his 200th birthday, a statue was unveiled at UCC- it’s apparently good luck to rub his nose. He sometimes pops up in period dress to say hello on guided walking tours of the university. A stained glass window in Lincoln Cathedral is dedicated to him and “Lunar Crater Boole” was named in his honour. The words “Bool” and “Boolean” represent a Boolean datatype in many programming languages.
I think that we can all agree that Boole is Cool!
Family Fossil Fun:
UCC’s Ireland’s Fossil Heritage program is inviting young artists to take part in Ireland’s first-ever national fossil-themed art contest. The theme of the contest is “Irish Fossils ALIVE”. The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 3rd of May 2022 at 4 pm.
Prizes will be awarded in four age categories: under 8 years, 9 –12 years, 13 – 15 years, and 16 – 18 years. The overall winner of the contest will be chosen from the top prize-winners in each category and will win a once-in-a-lifetime experience of a day out fossil hunting with palaeontologists from UCC, including one overnight B&B stay for each of the winners and one parent/guardian each.
The winner of each age category will receive a guided tour of the fossil labs at UCC and a behind-the-scenes look at their fossil collections.
Dr Eóin Ó Rathallaigh, SpR, CUH
Dr Oonagh Hickey, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, CUH