Jane Mason is senior physiotherapist at Selly Oak hospital, part of University hospitals, Birmingham. She started looking after soldiers in 2001. She says that the work then was very different, most of the patients were sports injuries and they weren’t particularly complex. But with the war, things have been very busy and it’s been a steep learning curve for the whole team.
In the trauma where Jane works they treat a lot of military patients. Many are amputees, sometimes three or four limbs, and blast injuries and gunshot wounds. The soldiers are often young, sometimes as young as 17, and extremely motivated. Their general levels of fitness tends to be higher than civilians, which makes the job easier. The only time it’s a challenge is when they push themselves too hard.
A lot of the work Jane does is in the gym teaching balance and core stability plus cardiovascular training with the amputees. But the work is diverse and can include treating burns patients and cardiorespiratory management. At the moment there are several patients with amputations, spinal injuries, multiple fractures and head injuries and they all have different needs.