Episode 1

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Episode 1 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

There's a revolution happening in the way life-threatening injuries are being treated across the country. This series follows every step of the groundbreaking 'chain of survival' for life-threatening injuries, designed to save hundreds of extra lives every year.

The first regional 'major trauma network' to become fully operational opens its doors to Life Savers, to capture the complete story of patients' journeys from the roadside, through life-saving surgery, to recovery. Based in the world-famous Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, this powerful documentary series captures the drama at the very limits of frontline medicine.

Early on a Saturday evening, a high-speed, head-on collision on a country road triggers the new system. The wreckage traps a family of three in one car and a single driver in another. Forty firefighters and six ambulances are already on scene, but they need the advanced medical skills of Dr Auden Langhelle and Neil Flowers to help release them.

At Addenbrookes, consultant-in-charge Rod Mackenzie receives the news and prepares his new system for its biggest test so far. As the four patients travel along the chain of survival - from the emergency department, through the scanner, intensive care, surgery and beyond - it becomes clear the most critical is the mother from the family. She needs an operation at the scene of the accident to save her, and puts the new life-saving system to the ultimate test.

The system is triggered again for another car accident: a 24-year-old has crashed through a brick wall at 50 mph. For every ten life-threatening injuries brought to Addenbrookes, eight happen on the region's roads. Yet another collision proves the system cannot save everyone, and one patient has to be told that a partner and father was 'pronounced life extinct at scene.'

With film crews embedded with air ambulances, the emergency department, critical care units and operating theatres, Life Savers reveals as never before the real-life drama of frontline emergency medicine.

Last on

Thu 4 Jul 2013 00:20 BBC One Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland HD only

See all previous episodes from Life Savers

More episodes

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Executive Producer
Sam Whittaker
Executive Producer
Meredith Chambers
Tom Beard


  • Thu 13 Jun 2013 21:00 BBC One

  • Wed 3 Jul 2013 23:10 BBC One except Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland HD, Scotland, Scotland HD, Wales, Wales HD

  • Wed 3 Jul 2013 23:35 BBC One Wales, Wales HD only

Life Savers: Director's Blog

Life Savers: Director's Blog

Series Director Tom Beard talks about turning an Emergency Department into his latest set.

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