Sneak peek into tonight’s episode of 24 Hours in A&E ‘My Guiding Star’
The RTS award-winning documentary series returns for a thirteenth series following patients treated in the same 24 hour period at St George’s. It’s a place where stories of life, love and loss unfold every day.
This episode focuses on the importance of having family, when an elderly man collapses in the street and a 53 year old dislocates his shoulder tripping on his way to work.
79 year old Mike is rushed to A&E after collapsing in the street whilst out walking his dog, Louie. His daughter Emma was driving along the same street when she saw Louie, then realised it was her father who had collapsed. As he arrives in St George’s, the medical staff are concerned that Mike has a very high heart rate and conduct tests to find out what has caused him to collapse. “You worry about the injury to the brain and injury to the skull” explains Registrar JD, “then you worry about a bleed on the brain. As an older person you’re more at risk of those injuries being life threatening.”
Doctors give Mike medication to try and stabilise his heart rate. Mike’s wife Rita talks about how important Mike is to her, “he’s my companion, your right-hand man…been so lucky really to have it, to have him.” Mike is informed by specialist doctors that attempts to lower heart rate have been unsuccessful and that he will need an urgent CT to determine if he has had a stroke or a heart attack.
53 year old Chartered Surveyor Andrew comes to resus with a suspected dislocated shoulder after tripping on a paving slab on his way to work. Andrew’s daughter Hannah is with him and talks of her surprise that such an innocuous accident brought him to A&E “the amount of miles he sails, his speedboats, he does all this crazy stuff, and we ended up in A&E with him because he tripped on a paving slab.” After having an X-ray, doctors are concerned that Andrew is experiencing numbness in his arm and little finger so send him for a CT scan.
9 year old Callum is brought to St George’s by mum Kelly and sister Annie after pushing a piece of plastic toy down his ear. As they wait to be seen, Kelly explains that she began to suspect Callum was different to his peers at an early age “I’d say by the age of 18 months I knew that something wasn’t right.” It was shortly afterward that Callum was diagnosed with autism, “as your first child, you start thinking, ‘Oh, did I do something wrong in pregnancy? Did I cause that?’ I mean after all he was in my body, I grew him.” As doctors attempt to retrieve the plastic from Callum’s ear, Kelly talks about how much both her children mean to her.
As the day comes to a close, Registrar JD reflects on the importance family for patients, “when people are at their weakest, having your family around you and a family that cares for you, one that’s ready to drop everything and be there when you need them is really one of the most valuable things in life. Seeing that I find particularly reassuring and comforting.”