A teaser for episode eight of ’24 Hours in A&E’
The RTS award-winning documentary series continues from its new home, St George’s in south west London, which has one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments. This episode, the last in the series, focuses on the bonds between patients and their family, as well as those between the staff in the A&E department.
Consultant Jai tries to pass on his compassion for patients to his team. “I treat all of my patients as I would treat one of my own,” he says. “I would give them the same amount of care which I would offer to any of my own family.”
Junior doctor Sobi is working with Jai. “Jai is incredibly calm and very patient, he is a good teacher,” she says. “I guess that filters through when you’re working together because it means that things go a lot smoother.”
65-year-old retired builder Roger has fallen four metres from his daughter’s roof while doing some building work for her. The trauma team is concerned that he may have badly injured his head, back and neck in the accident.
Roger’s daughter Lisa heard him fall from her roof ‘like a sack of potatoes’. “The guilt kicks in, thinking he was on my roof,” she says. “You start asking yourself all those questions: ‘What if, what if?’.”
His wife Ellen waits as Roger is taken for a CT scan to find out how badly he’s been hurt. She talks about how Roger has always been a support for her, particularly recently when she lost four sisters.
“He has a sensitive side, very caring; he is always there for me. He used to be a harder a bit fiery. He used to lose his temper if things didn’t go right,” says Ellen. “I seem to hold my emotions in quite a bit, I suppose I have been through too many emotional things in life, I hold them back.”
29-year-old folk musician Tad has come to A&E after developing a dangerously high heart beat. Left untreated it could be very serious and possibly lead to a stroke. Tad has experienced the condition before and knows what to expect. “The best way to describe it would be a rumbling, if you can imagine a train running around your chest,” he says.
Tad’s been treated at St George’s before and is very appreciative of the staff. The doctors try various treatments to get his heartbeat back to normal, but ultimately they have to use an electric shock to try to steady the heart.
Tad talks about his choice of music as a career. “I’ve never been one to follow the flock. Everyone in my immediate family has chosen a career that has absolutely nothing to do with anyone in the family. I’ve taken the same attitude and this is me, this is my pot and I will fit it with whatever I want.”
Meanwhile, 69 year-old Richard is brought to A&E after being found unwell at home by his son, Lee. Doctors are concerned that Richard has developed a very serious infection, possibly sepsis, and begin to treat him with antibiotics.
As doctors try to get Richard’s infection under control, Lee discusses his close bond with his dad and remembers exciting times together when he was growing up. “He was my ‘mad dad’, he used to do things with me my mum would tell him off for. He used to take me to Putney Heath with my air rifle and we used to shoot red bull cans and balloons,” he says.
“He’s my hero, he is my dad. You don’t expect your heroes to get weak,” says Lee. “I’d just to say to my dad, if I could be half the dad you were to me, I’d be a proud man.”