In military hospitals the anaesthetic records of operations were almost invariably written up into the general records which sat on the anaesthetic trolley during operations. They then followed the patient back to the ward.
Any post operative anaesthetic follow up was added to the patients notes when they were visited by the anaesthetist. The notes finally ended up in the hospital records department. In effect for all practical purposes they were “lost” as far as any statistical analysis of anaesthetic technique or outcome was concerned.
Latterly, in the time that I was at BMH Rinteln, my anaesthetic consultant Lt Col Charlie Davies introduced me to a system of Nosworthy Record Cards which could be used at the time of operation and then punched out so they could be sorted with a knitting needle; a local primitive data sorting system which had its punched card origins in the “tabulators” which had been used to sort data up until the beginning of WW2 notably in the election process in the United States.
I took a supply to Salalah and used them to record each and every anaesthetic procedure. They have formed the basis for my record of the clinical activity of 55FST during that period. The list of operations on the anaesthetic cards do not match those in the operating theatre book. This is because some operations were done under local anaesthetic and not all of the five anaesthetics given by the “mumps” anaesthetist were included.
Joe and I considered whether or not we should publish names and came to the conclusion that for historical completeness we should. We did decide to make an exception for those members of BATT who as well as having poor dentition – were they wary of their camp dentist back in Hereford ? – prefer to keep a long term low profile.
The individual records are currently presented in *.jpeg format.
However the General Data Protection Regulations of May 25th 2018 have now made it illegal to keep a database which identifies individuals and their personal data without their permission. Accordingly such data has been removed from the Nosworthy Cards and the file names have been anonymised to comply with these regulations. The searchable spreadsheet database will also be anonymised. The Operating Theatre Records Book in the “Documents” section has also been redacted. This has inevitably reduced the historical value of the documents. Faces of those who might have ended up in sensitive situations have been pixellated as facial recognition technology might just identify a 1972 face in 2019.