Library responds to surgeons’ 3am plea
By Daniel McGrory
SURGEONS in Melbourne struggling to treat a critically injured victim made a frantic appeal for help yesterday to researchers working at the British Library archives at Boston Spa in West Yorkshire.
The emergency call was made at 3am British time. One of the surgical team had remembered reading an article in a medical journal about treating severe blast victims but could not track down a copy. Within 20 minutes library staff had found the article and scanned it to the grateful medical team, which then used the document to guide them in the operating theatre.
The library is open 24 hours a day and has 80 miles of shelving. The article, The management of blast injury by L. M. Guzzi and G. Argyros, appeared in the 1996 edition of the European Journal of Emergency Medicine.
A spokesman for the library said: “The doctors were obviously very busy so we didn’t have the chance to ask details about the patient and how they got on.”
Researchers at the document supply site are used to medical emergencies. Doctors in India turned to them after a cloud of hydrogen cyanide leaked from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, as did medics helping burns victims after the 1985 fire at Bradford football stadium. US specialists sought their help in dealing with the anthrax scare last year.