Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Archibald McIndoe's "Guinea Pig Club"

Just watched a fascinating documentary on the work of plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe. He pioneered burns treatment and surgical reconstruction techniques on the badly injured air crew that formed his “Guinea Pig Club”. While the physical reconstruction was important he also realised that psychological treatment was also vital to recovery and also pioneered this aspect of treatment.

This was achieved by keeping the patients together, for moral support, in a group called “The Guinea Pig Club” and integrating them into the normal life of a village near the hospital as soon as possible. The story was told with archive film and recently filmed interviews with the remaining members of the “The Guinea Pig Club” who still meet annually – 60 years later. There were some amazing stories.

The BBC documentary was based on Emily Mayhew’s book and there is a brief, but interesting, interview with her at the BBC website: 

BBC Four Documentaries - The Guinea Pig Club

Book - The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe, the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club - E. R. Mayhew

The Guinea Pig Club – Official background on the club