A sneak peek into tonight’s episode of 24 Hours in A&E ‘Catch me if I fall’
The RTS award-winning documentary series returns for a twelfth series following patients treated in the same 24 hour period at St George’s in south west London. The hospital has one of the busiest A&E departments in Britain – under more pressure than ever. It’s a place where stories of life, love and loss unfold every day.
Sixty three year old Valerie is rushed to St George’s having fallen from a horse. Her daughter Vikki was riding with her at the time, “the next minute I turned and saw mum crashing down on her head.”
Leading the trauma is Consultant Will. He is concerned about potential spinal and head injuries, “your neck isn’t designed to take your body weight from the direction of your head…if there’s damage to the nerves in the spinal cord, we can’t fix those.” Vikki has accompanied her mum to A&E and as she’s whisked off for emergency CT scans she recalls, “all I could think was I’m going to lose her”.
Vikki recalls how her mum introduced her to horse riding when “mum was nine months pregnant with me in her belly still” and as she grew up horses and animals were an integral part of their lives. With no father around and no brothers or sisters, mum Valerie has been the one person “who taught her about life….mum and dad rolled into one” and she’s “the one person she would trust with her life.
As doctors assess Valerie’s CT scans, Vikki recalls how at just 17 years of age she found her grandmother after she had a suffered a stroke and how they both looked after her until the day she died. When she sees her mum in resus, “she felt like she was 17 again seeing nan but it was mum….I can’t imagine her not riding the horses again. It would break her heart as it’s all we know. “
Sixty-six-year old Lisa is travelling by ambulance to St George’s with a suspected injury to her prosthetic hip. Her husband Tony found her lying on the kitchen floor and is travelling with her, “she’d been to a school reunion with her best friend….and she was lying across the kitchen floor, unable to move…” Doctors quickly send her for X rays to assess the damage to her hip and whether she will need emergency surgery. Lisa reveals how she struggled with anxiety and agoraphobia as a young girl “nobody really understood what being anxious was about then” and how she spent a year and half in her bedroom, “if I had an amputated leg everyone would feel sorry but it’s very difficult when you have something in side your head for people to understand about it.” But with medication and psychiatric help, Lisa “got out of that room and met boys” which led her to find her “soulmate” of forty years, Tony, “we never talked about it as a illness but more a constraint of what she could do in life”.
Meanwhile 30-year-old Natasha is in A&E with her friends after an accident whilst trampolining at her son Taelan’s eighth birthday party, “I don’t know if I was showing off but I did bite off more than I could chew”. Doctors are concerned about the injury to her knee and send her for a CT scan. Natasha recalls how as a single mum, her and Taelan benefit from the support of her mum and her gran as well as an extended network of friends “they are like my sisters”. Scans reveal a serious break in her leg and while doctors realign and plaster her leg Natasha reflects on her work criminal rehabilitation, “You see the flip side people don’t have much family and much support and you can see the road you could go down if you don’t…my friends have been really, really supportive of me and I really think it’s extremely important for Taelan that he’s got support from myself as well as his extended family and my friends.”
Producer/Director: Sreya Biswas
Series Producer/Directors: Martin Conway, Lucie Duxbury, and Gemma Brady
Executive Producer: Spencer Kelly
Production Company: The Garden Productions