Sneak peek into tonight’s episode of 24 Hours in A&E ‘Road to Freedom’
Tonight’s episode explores the value of freedom, and what it means to be faced with the possibility of it being taken away.
49-year-old Michelle is rushed to St George’s after a collision with a car on a dual-carriage way. Emergency Care Nurse Lee tells us of his own passion for motorbikes: “I ride a motorbike and every day I’m on that bike it makes me feel alive.” He explains that the hobby comes with risks and that he feels a special affinity to patients who have motorbike injuries – when he hears the trauma team are going to be treating a patient who has had a motorcycle accident, he wants to be the nurse in charge of their care.
Michelle’s friend Ani was expecting her for dinner on the day of the accident, and when Michelle was uncharacteristically late, she began to worry. As Michelle is rushed for an urgent CT scan, Ani tells the story of how she met Michelle through their faith. “Being a Jehovah’s Witness is based on love. We are a family… so she’s my sister.”
As doctors continue to investigate the extent of Michelle’s injuries, we learn of Michelle’s experiences growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid era. As a child, she sensed segregation was ‘very unnatural’, but had grown up with that system being the norm. Michelle’s parents are British, so she always had a fascination with the country and decided to take a leap into the unknown and board a plane to Britain after her marriage fell apart: “For me to be able to survive and live, I had to get divorced. It was very hard to do, because we’d grown up together.” For Michelle, moving to the UK was incredibly difficult as she “wasn’t just giving up her marriage, she was giving up her life.” She slowly started to find her feet and took to riding a motorbike as a therapeutic new lease of life: “the feeling of freedom is absolutely awesome.”
19-year-old Frankie is rushed to St George’s after being thrown from a horse that then trampled on her. Orthopaedic Registrar Rob tells us of his experience with horse injuries: “Some [patients] have very simple injuries and I have seen patients that have had complete spinal chord injuries who have never walked again.” As doctors send Frankie for scans, her mother Sharon tells of the escapism horse riding gives Frankie: “she’ll sometimes come home and be stressed out about something and she’ll get on her horse an gallop over the fields – it’s a nice thing that she can turn to nature when she’s feeling bothered about things.” Frankie’s stepfather Colin rushed to the hospital to be at Frankie’s side, and as doctors assess Frankie’s scans we learn how Sharon separated from Frankie’s father. Colin and Sharon later met at work, and he describes the experience of realising he would be a stepfather to a small child: “I’ve got three children who are older from my first marriage – I’ll never forget the day [Sharon] bought Francesca and sat her on my knee. I thought – ‘I don’t know if this is going to work!’” We learn how their relationship has blossomed over the years and how Frankie’s biological father died last year, Colin saw it as his job to ‘help her through life’.
11-year-old Merlin comes to A&E with his mum, Leslie, after running into a wall at school and hurting his wrist. Leslie tells us of Merlin’s love for sport and adventure – he did his first triathlon aged seven and has always been active. He used to crawl out of his cot when he was just one years old. Leslie tells us about her love for medieval literature that inspired her to name her son Merlin who was ‘born in Grasse, the capital of perfume.’ The day Merlin was born was nerve-wracking as he had the umbilical chord wrapped round his neck, but describes the moment she first held her son as “truly magical.” As doctors treat Merlin’s wrist injury with a cast, Leslie reflects on how quickly time flies and how she treasures each day with her son.