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Morriston

Health Board uses virtual reality to teach new doctors lifesaving technique

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Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Medical Illustration Department is using virtual reality to teach new doctors a real life or death technique.

The department has teamed up with Swansea University to produce a virtual reality (VR) training app that helps perfect a potentially lifesaving technique, known as the Valsalva manoeuvre, to correct an abnormal cardiac rhythm, called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), on a virtual patient.

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The app includes the medical procedure for practice, an introduction to VR for those new to the technology and an online dashboard with performance analytics.

It was designed for standalone headset use, allowing for a seamless training experience with no cables. When using the app, the trainee is guided through each step of the manoeuvre, there is also a questionnaire pre and post procedure to assess their  knowledge.

The project was kindly funded by the Swansea Bay Health Charity.
Steve Atherton (pictured above), Deputy Head of SBUHB’s Medical Illustration, played a lead role in the app’s development.

He said: “It was the idea of Dr Kevin Mohee, who worked in Morriston’s cardiology department at the time. He wanted to develop something in VR and he came up with the idea of the Valsalva manoeuvre because it’s relatively simple to perform.

“It’s a fairly common condition which is quite easy to treat initially without drugs or fancy interventions, using simple techniques involving stimulating a nerve in the neck which can reset the heart rhythm.

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“They could watch a video on YouTube but the real advantage of VR is they can practice the technique on a virtual patient and if they get it wrong, it’s not the end of the world.”

Steve turned to Swansea University for help and after contacting Dr Marc Holmes, a Virtual Reality MSc course lecturer, his Morriston Hospital based team were put in contact with two MA students, Joe Charman and Jack Bengeyfield, who had set up their own software studio, Pilot Plus. 

He said: “I made the characters and the virtual world but Joe and Jack came in with their programming knowledge and supplied the code to make that world come to life.

“We wrote a plan of action, decided what you’d see when you put the headset on and what you want it to do, then those guys did the computer programing to make it happen. You are in the room and the patient is animated, they can sit up or lie down and  the bed moves.

“I basically gave them a 3D room, they had the task of making it work.”

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Of the collaboration he said: “I was thrilled to be able to share knowledge and collaborate on a project with Pilot Plus. It’s a great example of how fruitful we can be when the health board works with the university and local tech companies.

“I thought developing something like this was the preserve of big companies in London or America but I wanted to know what a medical illustrator, like myself, could do within the NHS. I’ve got a skill set with 3D but I’m not a computer programmer, so I linked up with Swansea University to use two virtual reality masters students to help with the programming side.”

The next step is to conduct a proper trial of the app before making it available to all.

“We’re going to invite some medical students and some junior doctors to come in and test it. It has been trialled already by some doctors but we want to do a large cohort of 40 to have a good go at it before filling a feedback form and questionnaire to get their opinion and to drive any changes.

“Hopefully it will be up and running by the end of the year. We don’t plan to make it a money making opportunity, it will be given away free.”

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The team plans to develop other VR packages to help with medical training in the future. 

Steve said: “The world is our oyster. There are loads of ideas but I’ll be guided by the clinicians, they are the ones doing the teaching. There’s no shortage of ideas, the only limit is the funding aspect.

“Talking of which, it was funded by the Health Board Charity and I would like to thank them very much, it couldn’t have happened without them.”

Joe Charman said: “It was great to work with Swansea Bay Health Board to turn their vision into a Virtual Reality application.

“Both the medical illustration from Steve and clinical expertise from Kevin were instrumental in guiding the creative process.

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“We look forward to creating more Virtual Reality applications to aid both patients and clinicians.”

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Art

Hospital’s key workers put in the picture by grateful pupils

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If a picture is worth a thousand words then they are all thank yous when it comes to this painting gifted to the staff of Morriston Hospital.

The stunning artwork was created by talented Bishop Vaughan Catholic School sixth former Emily Paradice-Ruan in a bid to thank key workers for the role they played during the heights of the pandemic.

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Bishop Vaughan Catholic School sixth-former Emily Paradice-Ruan (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

The thoughtful gesture is particularly relevant as the Morriston-based school operated as a childcare facility for key workers during lockdowns with many of those who passed through its gates having parents who worked in the hospital.

Emily, who has depicted the various roles carried out by NHS staff in her painting, enlisted the help of dozens of primary school pupils by getting them to leave their fingerprints in a large rainbow which makes up the background.

Emma Pole, head teacher at Bishop Vaughan, said: “We have very close links to the hospital due to the fact a number of our children have parents working there. We knew what they were going through and we wanted to present it and to say thank you.

“It’s intended to reflect the many roles which the health care sector were fulfilling during the pandemic and the fact that they were putting their lives on the line for us every day. They were certainly experiencing tougher and bleaker times than any of us could ever have imagined.”

Mrs Pole explained that the artist, who was very keen for the hospital to have the painting, had ensured as many pupils as possible had a hand in the work.

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“As a school we were closed during lockdown but open as an emergency childcare setting, welcoming the children of those key workers each day.

“Those children contributed to the picture. The painting was something that Emily did in her own time and she came into school to do it in that childcare phase, with the children.

“Emily carefully formulated it so she painted key workers and those in different careers in the foreground with a rainbow in the back, as the symbol of the pandemic, and within it are the fingerprints of the key workers’ children.”

The painting was presented to the hospital by the school’s head girl and boy, Lauren Powell and Lloyd Thomas, as Emily is away at university.

Lloyd, as aged 17, said: “It’s quite special given everything that’s happened over the last couple of years. We are tremendously thankful for our key workers here at Morriston Hospital.

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“This repays only a fraction of our gratitude for all the work they do here, we’d like to do a lot more. We just hope that this picture is a nice symbol of saying thank you.”

Carol Doggett (left), Interim Director of Nursing at Morriston Hospital accepts the painting from staff and pupils of Bishop Vaughan School outside Morriston Hospital. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

While 16-year-old Lauren added: “We just wanted to thank everyone for the incredible effort made by the Morriston team during the pandemic.

“I’m really grateful that we could show how thankful we are for all the key workers who risked their families and themselves during the pandemic. They are all just so amazing.

“I’m really glad I was able to see their reaction to the painting. I’m glad they liked it.

“I think it’s really special that the key workers’ children have their fingerprints in there because it shows how everyone was affected, and how we can all group together in times of need.”

The painting will be hung in the hospital’s main corridor, alongside a plaque noting the artist and school, so it is visible to all visitors.

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Carol Doggett, Interim Director of Nursing at Morriston Hospital, said: “It’s an honour to accept this artwork on behalf of all the staff here.

“It truly recognises the journey we have been on over the last two years. I think it will go a long way towards helping us look at that and reflect on that journey, and consider how we move forward.

“The children have really captured the emotional response from the public during the times that we have had the waves of Covid that we have experienced and managed.

“Removing the wrapping off the package was very emotional. We didn’t know what to expect and were so pleasantly surprised.”

Lead image: Bishop Vaughan pupils Lloyd Thomas and Lauren Powell with the painting donated to Morriston Hospital. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Morriston

Port Talbot man named as victim in fatal Cwmrhydyceirw motorcycle crash

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The rider of a motorcycle who died in a road traffic collision close to Morriston Hospital in Cwmrhydyceirw has been named as Syed Asim Ali Shah, 26, from Port Talbot.

The accident took place at around 7.25pm on Tuesday 3 May and involving a white Kawasaki ZX900 and a black Audi A3.

Mr Shah, who was known to family and friends as “Asim” died at the scene of the accident when he was riding his motorcycle.

His friends and family paid tribute to him, describing him as a “truly unique character” and a “gentle giant” who was strong willed and determined.

“He was always happy and cheerful regardless of any situation” his family said in a tribute released by South Wales Police.

“He was an infectious individual, and you’d never forget him after meeting him.

“Asim was the kindest most loving individual anyone would meet, he was caring, funny and the life of the party. He would have a way with people to always make them laugh and smile.

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“He leaves behind his darling partner Ocean and their one-year-old daughter Iyla. Asim loved both so dearly.

“He leaves behind his loving parents Nigar and Qadim Shah and his auntie, Parveen. His amazing brothers Munawar, Afaq, Aamir and Azan, his sister-in-law Fareah and lifelong friend Kawsar Hussain.

“He will be sorely missed by not only his family but his huge loving friendship group and the whole community of Port Talbot Mosque. He will be truly missed, and we pray for strength to get through this horrific time.”

South Wales Police is continuing to appeal appeal for witnesses to the Heol Maes Eglwys collision.

The road was closed for several hours whilst investigation work was carried out.

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Officers want to speak to any witnesses to the collision, anyone who may have dash camera footage of the incident or who witnessed the manner of driving of any of the vehicles prior to the collision.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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Morriston

Motorcyclist dies in Morriston crash

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South Wales Police are appealing for witnesses after a fatal road traffic accident in Cwmrhydyceirw yesterday evening (Tuesday 3 May).

The incident involving a white Kawasaki ZX900 and a black Audi A3 took place at around 7.25pm on Heol Maes Eglwys close to Morriston Hospital.

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A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “Despite the best efforts of attending emergency services the 26 year old male rider of the motorcycle died at scene.

“The road was closed for a number of hours whilst investigation work was carried out.

“We would like to speak with any witnesses to the collision, any person who may have dash camera footage of the incident or anyone who witnessed the manner of driving of any of the vehicles prior to the collision.

“Please could witnesses contact the Roads Policing unit on 101 quoting occurrence 2200146630.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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