Emergency plank

Part of my job is to prepare animal tissue for medical students and Doctors to practice particular skills. Wednesday, as a part of a regional study day for Trainee Doctors in emergency medicine I was preparing sheep windpipes to enable the delegates the experience of inserting an emergency tracheostomy tube. The experts agree that this gives them the “right feel for it”. It is a life saving procedure that Anaesthetists and Emergency Doctors must be capable of performing but thankfully a rare event. This means that they should undergo regular training to learn and maintain the skill.  So anyway, for me this involves nailing down sheep skin into a wooden board over the windpipe to simulate puncturing the skin with the equipment.


Emergency trach tube insertion, not for the faint hearted. Top left shows a sheep windpipe & on the right with the skin nailed to the wooden block. Middle & bottom show the tube in place

About halfway through nailing in 40 of them, I realsied that I had seriously under estimated how much wood I needed for the platform to secure them. Then I realised that I had cycled to work so couldnt possibly get out to the DIY store & get some more wood…or could I? For those of you in the NW of England, it wasnt as blowy down in Essex as up there on Wednesday but the wind was getting up and the forecast rain wasn’t with us yet. I headed out anyway and decided on a 2400cm x 15cm x 2cm plank that I could get them to chop up into 10cm lengths and them carry those back in my backpack.

The only problem is that this B&Q doesn’t have that service so I purchased a saw and headed back, confident of carrying a light but long piece of wood 3km back to work on my bike. The blustery conditions took hold of this plank and pushed me this way and that. I was completely at the mercy of the elements with this wooden sail. I am thankful that the journey back, mostly done via Harlow’s cycle tracks meant that I wouldn’t be blown in front of a car. I got some funny looks on that journey-if only they’d known what this humble plank was for and that it may be responsible one day of saving a life…


Last 3km with cross winds and a wooden sail

About biking2work

Sometimes bad tempered Dad to 2 sons who break things. Use the 2 wheels to get from A to B when I can
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