Culture, Latest News, Poole | Posted: Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 at 12:09 pm | return to news

Art highlights life behind the mask

The wearing of face coverings is on all our minds at the present time, and at Poole Hospital, Christine Clark, a local artist, has painted staff members in their masks to showcase the work of the oral and maxillofacial surgery team.

Ayesha and Abhishek
Ayesha and Abhishek

Ten members of staff from the department, which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck including cancer, were painted to lift team spirits.

The project was coordinated by Mr Atul Kusanale, consultant head, neck and reconstructive surgeon, who was introduced to Christine by a local dentist.

Christine said, “When Covid-19 arrived, I decided to keep a daily sketch diary relating to something I’d seen or done that day.

“During an emergency appointment with my dentist he was wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). I asked if I could make a sketch of him for my diary which he then sent to the maxillofacial department and gained Mr Kusanale’s interest.”

Mr Kusanale asked members of the team wishing to participate to provide photos of them wearing PPE to illustrate working life through Covid-19.

He said, “Doing a 10-14 hour free flap (transplantation of tissue from one site of the body to another) operation in a day is challenging at any given time but combined with PPE is altogether a different experience.”

Ayesha Dalal, an ST3 trainee doctor, said, “PPE has been the biggest challenge. Wearing loupes with mask results in misting of the glasses which hampers visibility, and as a new trainee this makes training even more challenging.

“I feel that the pandemic has brought our team closer and having our photographs painted was a fun exercise that lifted our spirits and gave us a much needed boost.”

Dipti Samal, international training fellow, explained, “Face-to-face interaction with patients is an important tool of any consultation, and working with masks and shields has limited the way we communicate with patients, making us feel faceless and even voiceless at times.”

Abhishek Akare, dental core trainee, said, “I felt this exercise was such a great idea and it feels that the paintings depict the trials of working in such difficult climate.”

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