18.12.2018

Dr Sarah Pape OBE becomes first woman to present the McIndoe Lecture at BAPRAS Scientific Meeting

North East burns and plastic surgeon, Dr Sarah Pape OBE recently became the first woman to present the McIndoe Lecture since they began in 1962 at the Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).

This prestigious lecture was bestowed by the Royal Air Force Association in 1962, shortly after the death of Sir Archibald McIndoe, in recognition of the pioneering surgery he performed on burned airmen during the second World War and his untiring efforts to ensure that his patients were able to reintegrate back into society. The lectureship is awarded by the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on the recommendation of the President of the College, and the President and Honorary Secretary of BAPRAS.

The lecturer is always a senior member of the medical profession, who is invited to present a lecture devoted to plastic surgery or another allied subject, based on the lecturer’s experience in that field. Dr Pape chose as her title “Ten Things I have learned about Burns Care in the past 30 years”. She outlined the scientific basis and philosophy of the multidisciplinary team that she has established at the North East and North Cumbria Burn Centre, which is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne. This included the golden rule of the Burns Centre “Treat the patient as if they were a member of your family”.

Dr Pape, who received an OBE from the Prince of Wales this time last year in recognition of her work with burns patients in the UK and Romania, has dedicated her career to developing adult and paediatric burn services in Newcastle, which is now recognised to be one of the leading Burns Centres in the UK. During her career, Dr Pape has developed pioneering technology for the assessment of burn depth, a technique that has spared countless burns patients from needless surgery. This is now recommended by NICE for all patients with intermediate depth burns and is used worldwide. 

Dr Pape received a medal from the Royal College of Surgeons in recognition of her lectureship. She said: “In 1987, as a junior trainee in plastic surgery, I looked after a pregnant woman and her toddler. They had sustained serious burns in a housefire. The mother and her unborn child both died and her son was left with life-changing disfigurement.

“I vowed that I would dedicate the rest of my career to improving the outcomes for patients with major burns in terms of survival, appearance, function and social reintegration. It was, therefore, an honour to be able to share the fruits of my endeavours over the past 30 years with my professional colleagues.”

“Each lecturer takes as a theme some aspect of McIndoe's work and interests, and as BAPRAS President I felt that the 2018 lecture should be given by a UK burns surgeon with an international reputation,” explains BAPRAS President for 2017-18 David Ward.

“Sarah Pape was the obvious choice in view of her work in this field both in the UK and overseas, receiving her OBE partly for her work in the night club fire in Bucharest in 2015. Sarah gave what was generally considered one of the best Lectures in recent years, reflecting on her experiences in treating patients with burns. In it there were lessons for surgeons of all ages, from the most junior trainees to the most experienced consultants. Several surgeons spoke to me afterwards about her humility and the benefits that she brought to her patients.”

The McIndoe Lecture

The McIndoe Lecture is one of the most prestigious lectures given at the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). It is given in alternate years at the BAPRAS Winter Meeting, the Association's premier event.

The Lecture was established in 1962 in memory of Sir Archibald McIndoe, the famous plastic surgeon who treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, many airmen who had been burnt in the Second World War.  He improved dramatically the way in which burns were treated, such as stopping tanning of burns and introducing salt baths, with excellent results. He was later knighted in recognition of his work and became Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

In 1962 the Royal College received a donation from the Royal Air Forces Association to cover a McIndoe Lectureship. BAPRAS and the Royal College agreed that the lecture should be devoted to plastic surgery or another allied subject and should be based on the lecturer’s experience in that field. The Lectureship is awarded by the Council of the College on the recommendation of the President of the College, and the President and Honorary Secretary of BAPRAS.

Although McIndoe had expertise in many aspects of plastic surgery, he is known best for his work in burns.

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2018 Site by TH_NK