Forgotten Story of Pioneering Surgeon Archibald Mcindoe Who Helped Shape Modern Plastic Surgery After Using Badly Burned WWII Airmen as His ‘Guinea Pig Club’ Is Set To Be Told in a New Musical

By - AMS posted Dec 08, 2021 05:10 PM


The story of the pioneering surgeon who developed a host of new treatments during the Second World War to help heal disfigured airmen and shaped the field of plastic surgery for years to come is set to be told in a new musical.

Writer and comedian Andrew Doyle, from Northern Ireland, has made New Zealand surgeon Archibald McIndoe the subject for his latest project, which is still in the script development stage, according to The Spectator.

Sir Archibald developed new methods for repairing skin damage in the 1940s, when working at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead - with the Sussex area becoming known as 'the town that did not stare', as his disfigured and recovering patients went about trying to rebuild their lives.

Referring to his more than 600 patients as the Guinea Pig club, his work has influenced contemporary treatments and resulted in the recovering airmen forming lifelong bonds.

Formed in 1941, the men took the name of their club from the guinea pig, because of the experimental nature of the surgical procedures they underwent. 

Around just 15 to 20 of the servicemen are still alive, according to Doyle, and they carried on meeting one another until a couple of years ago.

Sir Archibald moved to the recently rebuilt Queen Victoria Hospital and founded a Centre for Plastic and Jaw Surgery on the outbreak of the Second World War.


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