Public invited to see virtual autopsy at hospital open day

Members of the public will have the chance to go ‘inside the body’ at Southampton’s teaching hospitals this weekend when experts perform a virtual autopsy.

The event, part of a series of action-packed activities and sessions planned for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s open day, will see consultant histopathologist Dr Meg Ashton-Key make incisions using marker pens on a volunteer.

Her team will then demonstrate how examinations are performed on the body using animal organs and photographs of diseased human organs to an audience in the Heartbeat Education Centre, where close-up footage will be beamed live onto screens in the auditorium.

The open day – now in its third year – will also give people the chance to go behind the scenes of Southampton General Hospital with more than 50 activities and areas open to visitors, including the near complete helipad.

Among new attractions this year are makeshift adult and neonatal intensive care units in the main activity area based in children’s outpatients, where people will get to see staff testing equipment and treating simulated patients.

And, as well as opportunities to try on a hard hat and tour the site with the estates team, visit the operating theatres and follow the path of blood tests and biopsies in pathology, children will be able to get their arms plastered in the casting room, take their cuddly toys to the teddy bear hospital and test their surgical skills on a giant version of the operation game.

Budding scientists can look through some of the world’s most powerful microscopes in the biomedical imaging unit and track the movement of eggs and sperm at the Complete Fertility Centre at the Princess Anne Hospital, while colorectal surgeon Alex Mirnezami will be raising awareness of colon cancer with the help of a giant walkthrough inflatable colon.

People will also be urged to find out how to properly check for breast and testicle cancer with the help of model body parts in the Cancer Research UK laboratories.

Among the departments opening their doors on the day are cystic fibrosis, the eye unit and the Macmillan Cancer Centre, and the main activity centre will include stands from clinical genetics, nutrition, resuscitation and infection prevention.

Dr Michael Marsh, medical director at UHSFT, said: “Our open day is a fantastic occasion for all the family and this year we have more activities and demonstrations than before.

“It is an excellent opportunity for people from our local community and across the region to come in, meet our staff and see how different departments in a large teaching hospital work on a daily basis.”

The open day takes place on Saturday (15 October) from 11am to 3pm at Southampton General Hospital with free visitor parking for the duration of the event.

Posted on Wednesday 12 October 2011