Work experience, for most, typically involves colleagues scratching their heads and wondering what the unfortunate person can actually do that doesn’t involve making tea and idly twiddling their thumbs.
But one schoolboy actually put his time to good use and came up with an idea that could potentially save lives.
Ben Wald, who was on work experience at Barts Heart Centre at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, came up with the idea after seeing open-heart surgery during his time there, the Evening Standard reports.
Wald said: “I noticed how in one case where the medical records were not available, there was confusion and a bit of uncertainty.
"I could see that perhaps you could use these wires and sculpt them into something that could tell the cardiologist ten years down the line what had happened at the original operation.
“I asked a question about whether the wires could be sculpted into letters and was mocked a bit. It was slightly implausible. But my father realised it could be developed into a code.”
This code, which involves tying the wires that close the sternum, or breastbone, in a certain way, will give future heart surgeons the information they need when performing future operations.
It won an award at Society for Cardio-thoracic Surgery and will be presented at the British Cardiovascular Society annual conference this summer.
Professor David Wald, Ben’s father and a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, added: “This is an all too common problem that is frustrating for doctors and increasing risk to patients.
“Cardiologists need to know if the patient has been operated on before and how the previous surgeon has re-plumbed the arteries.”