New series of 24 Hours in A&E starts Tuesday 20th October on Channel 4
The RTS award-winning documentary series returns for a tenth series following patients treated in the same 24 hour period at St George’s. The hospital has one of the most advanced and busiest A&E departments in the world. It’s somewhere that stories of life, love and loss unfold every day.
The opening episode, which is the hundredth to be broadcast, focuses on the love between patients and their nearest and dearest.
89-year-old Sir John Cockburn arrives at St George’s with acute abdominal pain. Medics think it could be a ‘Triple A’, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can prove fatal, but need to run further tests.
Sir John’s son, Jonathan, talks about his father’s long and fascinating life. “When I was growing up, a neighbour asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I said ‘a gentlemen, like my father!’,” says Jonathan. “I don’t think he could change a plug, my mother did it all, she was the handyman in the house.”
Sir John was a wine merchant with an eccentric approach to business who brought his children up in a rambling manor house where they lived a loving, carefree existence. “My parents gave us an almost ideal childhood,” says Jonathan. “Not material things or being spoiled…they gave us love in bucketfuls.”
When the test results come back, Sir John faces emergency surgery. Jonathan is stoical; he wrote a letter to his parents ten years ago telling them how much he loved them and thanking them for everything they had done for him. “I don’t need to say anything more, there is nothing that is unsaid.”
68-year-old Mick was taking wife Linda out for a meal to celebrate her sixtieth birthday when they were involved in a head on car crash. Linda has a broken wrist and bruising, but Mick took the brunt of the impact and has multiple injuries from top to toe that could be life changing. “They got me out of the way first because he had more serious injuries. They didn’t want me to see what he was like,” says Linda. “It’s when you’re laying in the ambulance and you’re alone and he’s not with you, then it hit home.”
The couple fell in love after leaving failed relationships, making a happy life together in their mobile home. In adjacent bays in hospital, they get the staff to pass messages between them.
And ten-year-old Niall is brought to A&E after falling eight feet out of a tree on a family picnic. He’s broken his arm so badly it looks like a banana and orthopaedic doctors need to work out how to get it back in place.
“Every parent whose child has broken a bone has probably heard that scream, it’s very chilling,” says Niall’s mum Talwinder. “So I knew that he had definitely broken something by that scream. My instinct was to hold him and protect him and keep him safe forever.”
Tune in on Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.