Cat rescued from a tree. Sausage casserole found in Reading bus station lost property. Letter delivered 41 years after being posted. Child saves family from burning house.
Items of good news all, attached to the end of a bulletin to provide welcome relief from all of the pestilence, war, famine and death that dominates what we’re told on the hour, every hour. Because, y’know, life: it ain’t all bad
The other day, that news slot was occupied by the Williams Formula 1 team, which has been bringing ‘F1 pit stop know-how’ to the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales. Specifically, it has been helping to streamline the way newborn babies are resuscitated, so that it happens more quickly and is more likely to succeed.
Williams, like most racing teams, is an expert in what it calls human performance. It even employs a ‘human performance specialist’, who makes sure its people are trained to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment to hand, and who are quickly able to communicate with each other. Evidently, that person is effective: a crew of nearly 20 Williams engineers can swarm around a car and change all of its wheels in less than 2.0sec.
The story goes that Williams has lent this knowledge to the University Hospital. The resuscitation team has now streamlined its equipment trolley so everything’s in its ideal position and, like in F1, it has mapped out a standardised floor space in delivery theatres so staff will always know where to be and work from the same, optimised position. It’s also improving its communication – sometimes using hand signals, which are quicker than speaking – and video-analysing its performance after each resuscitation, to improve the next one.
This is all – and I mean this absolutely sincerely – marvellous. Everyone has been altruistically sharing what they know for literally the greater good, and lives – young, precious lives – will be saved as a result. But is it good to be so proud that the world leaders in human performance are those who provide light Sunday afternoon entertainment? Or, in a situation to be truly proud of, would the world-class expertise already reside with those who save dying babies for a living?