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Surgeons take on major trauma operations at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. They have just minutes to save a woman with a life-threatening bleed on her brain.

The second season of the groundbreaking show concludes with an episode focused on the work of surgeons in the fast-paced field of trauma surgery. With access to the emergency department and trauma theatres of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, the episode features some of the UK’s top surgeons battling to make the difference between life and death for critically injured patients who arrive at the QE by land and air.

The Queen Elizabeth receives 9,000 patients to its emergency department each month. Many of the most seriously injured can only be saved by urgent surgical intervention. To cope with these trauma cases, the QE has 140 consultant surgeons regularly on call, night and day.

With no time to plan and often little or nothing known about a patient’s medical history, surgeons must make life-critical, split-second decisions, while racing to perform operations that are no less demanding than their day-to-day elective cases.

Consultant neurosurgeon Ismail Ughratdar has just minutes to operate to save the life of a 64-year-old woman who has a bleed on the brain after falling in the street. Blood is accumulating and putting pressure on her brain that is very likely to lead to permanent disability or death unless Ismail can perform a craniotomy to alleviate the pressure in time.

As the QE is also the base for receiving all military casualties from overseas, surgeons, doctors, nurses and anaesthetists from the armed forces work alongside NHS staff in the hospital’s unique major trauma service. Lessons drawn from the battlefield are especially useful when dealing with polytrauma patients – those brought in with multiple serious injuries.

One of the leading consultant general surgeons at the QE, Catherine Powell, is also a commander in the Royal Navy. When a motorcyclist is
rushed in by helicopter, she must decide whether to operate on his internal bleeding, or whether the badly dislocated shoulder that could cost him an arm is the most urgent priority.

59 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Series Producer Katharine Patrick
Executive Producer Ruth Shurman
Executive Producer Richard Bond
Editor Pawel Slawek
Editor Kathy Lee
Editor Matt Briggs
Production Manager Debbie Vile
Production Manager Louisa Hatfield
Producer Nabila Hussein
Composer Mat Davidson
Narrator Shaun Dooley
Production Company Dragonfly Film and Television

Broadcasts