Bulletin 120, March 2020

From the Editor, Dr David Bogod

Welcome to the March issue of the College Bulletin

I’m a big fan of the TV panel show QI and the idea that most of what we know is wrong. Vikings wore horned helmets? A construct of a 19th-century Wagnerian costume designer. Goldfish have a three-second memory? Three months, better than mine. The Great Wall of China is visible from space? Not without a very big telescope.  And so, it seems, with the idea that thiopentone caused more American deaths at Pearl Harbor than the Japanese.  Tony Wildsmith points out in his ‘As We Were’ article that, actually, fewer than half of the casualties actually got anywhere near a hospital, let alone a syringe of thio. What next, I wonder? Perhaps birds don’t fly south in the winter and bears never defecate in the woods.

One thing is for sure, as the night follows the day (please tell me that’s right at least); William Harrop-Griffiths’ Soapbox will cause controversy and dispute. The postbag in this month’s issue relates entirely to Will’s comments about the Guedel airway. It’s touching – and slightly worrying – that so many of us can be moved by a bit of curved plastic to put pen to paper, but please feel free to express your views on the rest of our content as well. A lively correspondence column is the sign of a healthy journal, so keep it coming.

Elsewhere in this issue, we carry two articles about the help available to those returning to practice, whether it be after parental leave (KIT and SPLiT) or any other break from clinical work, due perhaps to sickness or taking up managerial duties, when the College’s new RTW Network can offer useful support. Even if you are away from the shop floor for a period, keeping up with clinical advances from home is becoming increasingly possible, and University College London are to be congratulated on their new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) ‘Airway Matters.’ This is a remarkable free-to-access programme, entirely online, with 20 hours of top-quality teaching over five weeks, and follows on from the successful MOOC on perioperative care by the same team. See Laura Elgie’s article on page 42 for more information.

If you are taking time off to start a family, you should be worried that your children might be learning more than you about resuscitation. Following on from Ada Ezihe-Ejiofor’s inspiring article about teaching CPR in schools (July 2019), Rebeca Carter and Siew-Ling Harrison have updated us on the ‘Kids Save Lives’ Festival held in south London in October last year. As the Jesuits never said: ‘Give me the child until they are seven, and I will give you the anaesthetist.’

This is my last edition as Editor of the Bulletin, a task I have greatly enjoyed (and so much easier than Anaesthesia…).  I thank my wonderful and patient team of Mandie Kelly and Anamika Trivedi, ably led by Gavin Dallas, a man who has tried, and occasionally succeeded, to keep me in line. I am delighted to hand over the reins to that well-known style icon, bon viveur and Twitter influencer Helgi Johannsson, who will hopefully be even harder to control.

If you want me, you’ll find me aboard my trusty narrowboat, the ‘Lady Mondegreen’ (bottle of claret for the first to come back with the literary reference).