Out of Our Comfort Zone: Pain Relief in a Crisis

This exhibition was on display at the Anaesthesia Museum from July 2013 – July 2014. It celebrates the development of emergency pain relief and pays tribute to those affected by wars and disasters. The exhibition particularly focuses on the work of doctors, and especially anaesthetists, who deal with trauma and injuries sustained in wars and terrorist attacks.

Because of the nature of their work, anaesthetists are more likely to have the skills necessary to deal with this type of injury than any other doctor. Not only are they experienced in keeping patients safe during major surgery, they also are trained in resuscitation and often run intensive care units and pain clinics in hospitals. As a result they are trained to preserve life, prevent complications from injuries, and relieve pain. At the Moorgate train crash in 1975 for instance, in which 74 people were injured and 43 killed, 16 out of the 18 doctors on site, were anaesthetists.

The exhibition looks at pain relief in this type of disaster, as well as techniques used in war and terrorist attacks. It originally included an oral history interview with Dr Andrew Hartle, the AAGBI President, who treated casualties from the London 7/7 bombings.