The fourth and final episode of Surgeons lived up to expectation with a graphic insight into the world of orthopaedic surgery. This week we witnessed both hip and knee replacement surgery being carried out (with full sound effects included) by surgeon Sean Dudeney in Cappagh Hospital, whose other passion in life seems to be repairing old cars. Orthopaedic surgeons, we were told are the sort of people who “like fixing things”. That’s great, but I’m not completely convinced that I want to know exactly ‘how’ they go about fixing our bones and joints. It’s hugely impressive but pretty gorey stuff. Think ‘meat on a slab’ and you’re half way there. We were also introduced to the world of paediatric orthopaedics with complex spinal surgery being performed by surgeon Frank Dowling at Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin. His clear joy of working with children and helping to improve their quality of life was marred by the frustration he felt at the hands of HSE and the continuing Dickensian conditions at Crumlin. Frank Dowling told us that 15 years ago he spent two years on a committee having regular meetings with Health Board executives to plan out a much needed new out-patient’s department for Crumlin, right down to the nitty gritty of where the sockets would be. Just when they reached the final stages of negotiation news came through that the funding required was not available and Crumlin today remains in the same crummy condition with lack of privacy and space and it’s associated infection control risks. And our Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern continues to insist that our Health Service is not in crisis. It’s crumbling at it’s knees and even the best orthopaedic surgeons can’t fix it!
‘Surgeons’ was yet another fantastic series from Mint Productions. The skill of the surgeons was a wonder to behold. And the bravery of the patients portrayed throughout the series was thoroughly uplifting. It was an true insight into humanity. As we were told each week “surgery by it’s nature – must injure first in order to heal”. Bring on more please!