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Plastic Surgery in Wars, Disasters and Civilian Life (ePub)

The Memoirs of Professor Anthony Roberts OBE

Aviation > Royal Air Force Hobbies & Lifestyle > Medicine & Health Military > Frontline eBooks P&S History > Social History

By Prof Anthony Roberts
Frontline Books
File Size: 33.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399068505
Published: 3rd February 2023


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The specialty of plastic surgery was developed and named by Sir Harold Gillies following his work between the two world wars reconstructing severely damaged servicemen from the First World. War. Sir Harold went on to inspire and train other surgeons from around the world. Among them was his cousin Sir Archibald McIndoe, who in the Second World War set up the unit at East Grinstead Hospital which looked after severely burned airmen and some other servicemen. The airmen themselves set up the famous Guinea Pig Club which gave enormous social and often financial support to the severely injured.

After the Second World War specialised burn units were created throughout the UK, including one at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where Anthony Roberts served. After the number of war injuries had reduced, the burn unit for all three services was set up at RAF Halton, a few miles from Stoke Mandeville. A close relationship between the hospitals developed which led to military surgeons being posted to Stoke Mandeville for training in the care of burns and an introduction to plastic surgery.

Most doctors will never be involved in a disaster during their working lives. Anthony Roberts was involved in treating casualties from the Bradford City football stadium fire in 1985 that claimed 56 lives and resulted in hundreds more being injured, many of them with severe burns. It had a major effect on him, and on all those involved. It started his appearances on the media and his overseas visits to other countries to talk about it. And subsequently he was asked to join and to lead other international efforts to provide help. He led the first British team from Stoke Mandeville that gave aid in Sarajevo during the war. He returned several times and has also given aid in three other war zones and six major disasters.

Because of this involvement in all these situations Professor Roberts taught junior trainee surgeons from the three British services and those of several foreign countries. As well as his military involvement, Anthony Roberts spent sixteen years working with the Royal Protection Group at State occasions, and thirty years working as a motor racing track doctor including at Formula One level, providing immediate and vital treatment to drivers who suffered serious injuries and burns following accidents on the track and to spectators.

There have been enormous changes in the specialty over the past fifty years and a detailed view of these is given in an absorbing account of this life-enhancing surgery by one who served on the frontline in difficult and dangerous situations around the world.

4 out of 5 Stars

For a different view of the world of medicine, I can certainly recommend this book.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

Absolutely fascinating and authored by an expert in the field, so plenty technical information as well as case studies. This book highlights the importance of plastic surgery as a specialisation which really saves lives. The impact on soldiers disfigured in conflict is highlighted in this very interesting book.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

About Prof Anthony Roberts

Professor Anthony Roberts OBE started life as the only child of a divorced mother living in half a small bungalow and who, because of TB, did not start at his local primary school until nearly eight years old. There he won his first scholarship to a public school after which he graduated, researched, worked, and lectured as an engineer. After ten years, with another scholarship, he changed to medicine. Five years later after studying at four universities on three continents and with seven degrees, he qualified and then realised his ambition to become a surgeon. After twelve years of training, he became a consultant plastic and hand surgeon at the famous Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and was also director of the Oxford Regional Burn Unit. He has worked around the world in forty-five countries and has operated in twenty-five of them. Somehow, he found time to publish research on burn injuries and management which involved creating a medical charity of which HRH the Duke of Kent is Patron and to which the income from this book is dedicated.

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