People Project - Meet Cat

01 July 2020

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary at Limbs & Things, it’s important to remember with who the business started with; Margot Cooper, a medical illustrator. 30 years on and medical illustration is still as key as ever as the innovations keep flowing. The medical illustration aspect now rests with Catherine, and it couldn’t be in a safer pair of hands.

People Project - Meet Cat

Always destined for a career in medical illustration, Catherine, or Cat as she's more commonly known at Limbs, studied Forensic Science at the University of Central Lancashire before obtaining a Masters in Forensic Anthropology at Bradford University. Her training expanded even further when she received training in Medical Art with the Medical Artists’ Education Trust (MAET), where she is now a tutor. It was here where her weird and wonderful journey to Limbs began, as she explains: “When I was on the (MAET) course, Margot was on the trustees. We had a conference a MAA conference at Limbs in 2006, and I thought ‘this is where I want to work!’ As soon as I finished my course, I wrote a letter to Limbs asking if there were any jobs going.” Cat was invited in for an interview where she was greeted by our Research and Development Manager, Pete, and Margot herself. Her talent wasn’t lost on either of them and Cat was offered a two-week internship. At the expiration of her internship, Cat worked with Professor Lennard Funk, where she spent her time mastering the art of the shoulder joint. Three years after her initial internship, Cat received a phone-call from Pete asking if she wanted a job at Limbs, and the rest is history.

Now into her eighth year at Limbs, Cat has worked on a long line of projects, including the Clinical Female Pelvic Trainer, Clinical Male Pelvic Trainer, Knee Aspiration & Injection Trainer, Shoulder Injection Trainer, Rectal Examination Trainer and the Perineal Repair & Episiotomy Range. It’s a strong repertoire to have influenced, and one that will have affected the lives of so many. Considering Cat is Limbs’ only active Medical Artist, it really does epitomise her importance. Her expertise will regularly be called upon during every single Limbs project, and there genuinely is no substitute for her knowledge or skillset. Reflecting on the work Limbs carry out, Cat magnifies a different way of looking at things: “We’re leading the way in medical simulation products. It’s not only that all the work that we do makes a huge difference to the patients and the clinicians, but Limbs is setting standards for medical simulation we inspire the industry.”

Medical illustration laid the foundations for what Limbs is today, but what is its role now? As Cat so eloquently puts it: “all designs start with a sketch”. In essence, it is Cat’s job to harbour the thought process and then bring those ideas to life visually. Whilst concept drawing might have been the sole responsibility of a medical illustrator years ago, the advances in technology and the way in which Limbs presents its products ensure Cat’s talents are spread across the business, as she explains: “I used to be more paired with a designer, but now I’m a bit of a floating resource so I do lots of different things. When it comes to NPD (New Product Development), my main role is concept drawing and sculpting, but I feel like I’m dotted throughout the process. I feel like I work with loads of people.”  

It’s that same team aspect Cat alludes to that brings the most joy to her role. Working in a close-knit Research and Development team has allowed Cat to experience a team-ethic and sense of comradery. But Cat admits, in a curiously fulfilling way, it’s also the most challenging aspect of her role: “The favourite part of my job, mainly because I freelance, is just working in a team to battle through problems. If you don’t find your work challenging, you’ll just get bored and move on, and at Limbs, everything is a new and exciting challenge to conquer with amazingly talented individuals.”

Cat always speaks glowingly of her colleagues, clients, and tutors. It’s abundantly clear that Cat loves what she does, with who she does it with and it’s only fair that some of that admiration is reserved for herself. Pete, the man who brought Cat to Limbs, speaks even more glowingly of her: “She is genuinely amazing at what she does, and I don’t use that term lightly. There are creatives and then there are people like Cat. She is head and shoulders above most and we are very lucky to have her on our team.” Where medical illustration is concerned, Cat has rather picked up where Margot left off.