Public given chance to tour mortuary at hospital open day

Members of the public will be given a chance to tour the mortuary and see experts perform a virtual autopsy at Southampton's teaching hospitals on Saturday (29 September) as part of an action-packed open day.

Visitors will be able to enter the viewing area and take a look around the recently-refurbished department, which has six post mortem bays, and talk to staff about their day-to-day work.

For those keen to get a closer insight, consultant histopathologist Dr Meg Ashton-Key, will perform a virtual autopsy by making ‘incisions’ with a marker pen on a volunteer before using animal organs and photographs of diseased human organs to demonstrate how examinations are performed.

The open day, now in its fourth year, will also give people the chance to go behind the scenes in more than 50 other areas of Southampton General Hospital, including makeshift adult and neonatal intensive care units, where staff will be testing equipment and treating simulated patients, and the helipad, which will have an air ambulance on show.

In line with this year’s back to the future theme, budding scientists can look through some of the world’s most powerful microscopes in the biomedical imaging unit and visit the Cancer Research UK laboratories to see how science is advancing medical care.

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 take their cuddly toys to the teddy bear hospital and test their surgical skills on a giant version of the operation game.

Among the departments opening on the day are the respiratory centre, adult cystic fibrosis and ambulatory care, while the main activity centre will include stands on everything from the careers centre and stroke unit, to speech and language therapy and the emergency department.

Dr Michael Marsh, medical director at UHS, said: “The past three open days have proved not only to be fantastic, fun and exciting occasions for all the family, but also great educational experiences and a chance for us to really connect with people from across the city, region and even further afield.

“This year, by inviting people into the mortuary to meet staff and see how they work on a daily basis, we hope to continue the trend we have set of breaking through the barriers of fear associated with hospitals through real insights into all aspects of our work.”

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

Posted on Tuesday 25 September 2012