Sneak peek into tonight’s episode of 24 Hours in A&E ‘Broken Heart’
The RTS award-winning documentary series returns for a thirteenth 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. It’s a place where stories of life, love and loss unfold every day.
This episode follows couples who have been together since they were teenagers, weathering ups and downs over the years.
80 year old Joan is rushed to St George’s with severe pain in her chest, arm and jaw. She is followed to hospital by her two daughters, Sarah and Sue who, for the first time, are made aware of their own mother’s mortality: “You realise that she is not this invincible human being that you think she is.”
Consultant Sarah, in charge of resus, is concerned that Joan’s heart is struggling and requests an urgent blood test and heart trace. “An elderly patient presenting with chest pain radiating to their jaw,” she explains. “The first thing that goes through your mind is could this be a heart attack?”
Whilst they wait for the results of the blood test and the heart trace to determine if Joan is indeed having a heart attack, Sarah and Sue talk about how their parents were only sixteen when they first met at a local dance, how they’ve been together ever since and how they would hold hands in bed every single night. “They were other halves of each other. They were just in love.”
Joan’s daughters then talk about how their mother lost her husband – and they lost their father – only six months earlier. “60 years of always being together, never apart,” explains Sue. “That must have pulled at her heart something terrible.”
54 year old roofer Mark has fallen ten feet off a ladder at work onto a wooden deck. Doctors are concerned that the impact may have broken bones in his pelvis and spine.
During his scan, his wife Sarah talks about the 11 year age gap in their relationship and how they met on a blind date. “He was confident and drove a nice car which helped. He was a charmer,” remembers Sarah. “We’d only been together for about a week and he bought me red roses and a bottle of perfume.” But in the end it was Sarah who proposed to Mark and they were engaged on her 18th birthday.
As a boy, Mark started roofing with his day at weekends and during the summer holidays. “That’s all he’s ever done,” says Sarah. “All he’s ever known.”
Whilst they wait for the scan results, Mark talks about working as a roofer with his dad as a young boy at weekends and during the summer holidays. As his wife Sarah explains, “That’s all he’s ever done. All he’s ever known.” Mark then talks about how his dad died when he was just a young man and how the loss hit him hard and he started drinking heavily. “Sarah saved me,” admits Mark. “She’s my savior, she’s my rock. “
Meanwhile, 26 year old Josie has fallen and hit her head whilst performing a Dirty Dancing routine at a hen-do in Ibiza. She has been having headaches, dizziness and vomiting and doctors are worried she may have damaged her head. Whilst waiting for her CT scan results, Josie recalls the attempted dance move and how the maid of honour – who was actually lifting Josie – broke her ankle in three places. Josie also admits that she has never seen ‘Dirty Dancing’ and that they were perhaps being a bit over ambitious: “Maybe we should have tried it in the pool first but you don’t want to get your hair wet…”