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Rebirth through Fire: Building Self-confidence and Identity

Part 2 Dissertation 2012
Ellen Palmer
University of Portsmouth | UK
This written thesis intends to investigate the advancements in burns healthcare in the UK during the two World Wars and what legacy it has left today. Evidence shows that historically, as doctors struggled to care for men, major advancements were made in the medical and psychological arena due to the sheer number of patients contracting severe burns. Surgical advancements made in World War 1 were the foundations, which led to the major discoveries during World War 2. What should we learn from these accomplishments that have changed the face of British burns healthcare today? This thesis will evaluate the success and importance of the evolution of surgical and psychological care during the World Wars, which aimed to rebuild patient self-confidence and identity.

The UK became world leader specialising in burns healthcare due to the pioneering surgical and psychological care of burns patients during World War 2. This thesis aims to uncover why and how the UK has lost this status today. Enquiries reveal that there is a severe lack in the NHS burns service and that improvements must be made in order to gain back this status. This research will enable an informed decision to be made regarding the provision for post-hospitalisation care and how the UK can regain this status of world leader.

In order to interrogate this question thoroughly research will cover; the initial treatments of burns healthcare in a military setting: the surgical advancements made through the World Wars with the aim to restore identity: the development of specialised burn units: and the psychological effects burn injuries can have on a victim’s self-confidence.

Ellen Palmer

Dr Elizabeth-Marie Tuson
Tina Wallbridge
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