Centre for Health, Technologies and Social Practice

From lab to bedside and battlefield to boardroom: exploring histories and futures of innovation and technology in Advanced Wound Care

Photo Credit: mondays child via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mondays child via Compfight cc


Mary Madden from the School of Healthcare is collaborating with historian of science and medicine James Stark on a pump priming project (supported by internal pump priming funding at the University of Leeds) beginning to explore the historical context of major developments in wound care, the sociological climate behind discussions of innovation, the representations of particular kinds of technology as ‘cutting-edge’ in the context of the medical market and contemporary perspectives from service users, practice and industry.

Whilst much research has examined the historical and sociological context of acute surgical wounds and injuries sustained on the battlefield, the case of chronic wounds has yet to be fully investigated. In the UK, most chronic wounds are managed by community nurses with referral to specialist services, including tissue viability, surgical specialties (e.g. vascular and orthopaedic surgery), podiatry and dermatology. A historical focus on largely hospital-focused, acute clinical activity, ignores the fact that wound care decision making, prevention and treatment is very often the preserve of nursing as well as the role played by the patients themselves. Similarly, recent historical research has emphasised the importance of global conflict in driving innovations which are applicable in far broader settings; inventions emerging from warfare are appropriated and applied in many different and unexpected ways beyond the immediate field of conflict.

A networking event will be held at the University of Leeds on 12th June 2015, and will consist of a series of provocations from participants, followed by extended discussion. The goal is to identify how an awareness and appreciation of the historical circumstances and sociological discussions surrounding wound care innovation can inform current practices, whether by illuminating in more detail the manufacturer-user relationship, analysing conditions under which innovation thrive, or highlighting how particular types of product were marketed to consumers

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