Knowledge of burns experts informs The Good Karma Hospital storyline
When the writers of prime-time ITV medical drama The Good Karma Hospital wanted to introduce an acid attack storyline for its third series, they called on the expertise of the team at the Queen Victoria Hospital to ensure it was as true to life as possible.
Actress Amanda Redman who plays Doctor Lydia Fonsceca in the series, proposed the idea of a burns storyline to The Good Karma creator and writer Dan Sefton, who is also a trained doctor. Amanda had a personal reason for championing the storyline; she was scalded when she was just 18 months old, sustaining burns to her body. Amanda received treatment at Queen Victoria Hospital, and so the storyline was an opportunity to revisit the hospital she frequented as a child and use the knowledge and experience of its experts to bring her idea to life.
Amanda, Dan and a team of scriptwriters visited Queen Victoria Hospital and spent time in the burns unit, drawing on the expertise of its consultants, nurses and psychological therapist. The team were keen to highlight the importance of treating the whole patient, regardless of the cause of their burn injury, as the psychological impact can be as traumatic as the physical trauma. The hospital’s team provided ongoing help as the script was being honed and advising on equipment and prosthetics.
Commenting on the hospital’s involvement, writer and creator Dan Sefton, said: “It was a real privilege to visit the world famous burns unit at East Grinstead. We were determined to make our storyline as authentic as possible and the staff gave us incredibly valuable insights into the treatment of these challenging patients. For me the most fascinating aspect was the complex psychology of the recovering patient and how skillful and compassionate the staff needed to be, treating everyone as a unique individual with different needs at different times. We tried hard to reflect that in our series. While the work of plastic surgeons is essential, the vital role of nurses and other health care professionals is often overlooked.”
Baljit Dheansa, consultant burns and plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “The Queen Victoria Hospital burns service is renowned for providing world-class, multidisciplinary, specialist care for adults and children, and we were pleased that we could use our collective expertise to help Dan and the team with their storyline. We’re passionate about supporting the whole patient and work closely as a team to meet their physical and psychological needs throughout their recovery journey – an approach we hope we can pass on to others through The Good Karma Hospital.”