Brain Doctors: Emergency

Ep 1/3

Wednesday 6 February



High risk, extremely skilled and breathtakingly complex, Brain Doctors features surgeons working at the very frontiers of their medical expertise and knowledge. Landmark Films has had remarkable access over nine months to the neurosurgeons at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital – sharing the daily highs and lows – and to their patients whose lives depend on their skill.

Cameras follow both paediatric and adult surgeons as they carry out high risk operations on the most complex, delicate and important organ, removing brain tumours, correcting brain abnormalities and saving the lives of trauma victims.

Some of the patients are what Paediatric Neurosurgeon Jay Jayamohan calls 'frequent flyers' – children with complex conditions who require a lifetime of surgery. The films highlight the strong bonds of trust and commitment that are forged between families and their surgeons.

Patients often arrive in the Neurosurgery Department shell-shocked: a routine visit to the optician or GP has triggered a process which ends with major brain surgery to remove a life threatening tumour.

Tracey, a midwife and mum to two sons, lies in a coma with massive head injuries suffered in a car crash. Husband John escaped relatively unscathed and sits constantly by her bed, willing her to open her eyes.

Martin was struck down by a mysterious virus which has rendered him unconscious and unable to breathe for himself. Every day, his wife Lisa, checks for signs Martin is coming round. For doctors and patients, the NICU is a physically and mentally gruelling place to be.