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I’ll never forget my time as doc to the Olympics
10:20am Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
A WORCESTERSHIRE surgeon swapped the bedside for the poolside as he provided care for athletes at an unforgettable Olympics.
Phil Earl, who works for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, spent two weeks as a volunteer at London 2012.
The specialist oral facial surgeon, a qualified football pitchside doctor, who has worked until recently with the Kidderminster Harriers was assigned as a leader to a medical team of six, working shifts around the clock to provide emergency medical cover to international water polo teams.
During his day job Mr Earl and his team treat more cases of facial skin cancer than any unit in the Midlands, completing about 2,000 cases per year. A normal day at work means performing jaw, facial and trauma surgery across all three hospitals in Worcestershire.
Mr Earl sent his first expression of interest to the London 2012 organising committee in December 2006 and got what he described as ‘the perfect Christmas’ gift five years later when he was officially accepted.
He said the most serious injury during the tournament was a dislocated finger.
“My lasting memories will be of all the positive, smiling people – the volunteers, athletes and visitors. Everyone was so friendly and the venue was amazing.
“There were no medals for Team GB at the water polo, but the support from the crowd was unbelievable. Sitting poolside while an international audience of 5,000 people cheered their teams on was an experience I will never forget.
“Thanks very much to the trust and my colleagues in the oral facial surgery team for enabling me to take the time off for this opportunity of a lifetime.”
Penny Venables, chief executive of the acute trust, said: “We were delighted Phil was selected to be part of the Olympic Games and are very proud of his commitment in this important role.
“The trust has supported him every step of the way and it is clear that he and the many other volunteers involved have made a major contribution to the success of the Games.”