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New television documentary exploring life-threatening emergencies

UHNM Emergency Department Consultant and Clinical Lead for Emergency Medicine, Dr Chris Pickering, is amongst the staff who will be shown at work during the documentary

A new documentary will see staff at the Royal Stoke University hospital dealing with motorbike crash victims, and a man attacked with a machete.

Channel 5 have gone behind the scenes for a new fourpart documentary called Critical Condition, which starts next Wednesday (13 March).

It was filmed during autumn 2018 and follows the teams responsible for delivering immediate life-saving care, highlighting the relentless fast pace of the department’s daily workload.

The crews were given access to the hospital’s Major Trauma Centre and other specialist emergency departments, and follows the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies that the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust specialist consultants and their teams experience while delivering immediate life-saving care.

The documentary will aim to provide an insight into the decision making and actions of the clinicians, when dealing with the daily pressures of gravely ill or seriously injured patients.

The Royal Stoke is one of only 22 specialist trauma centres in the UK; with patients frequently arriving by air ambulance, from across the region and further afield in North Wales, to receive treatment following major accidents and for life-threatening conditions.

Dr John Oxtoby, UHNM Medical Director, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this new documentary which highlights to viewers the difficult and high pressured decisions taken by our fantastic clinicians to save a life on a daily basis.

"The series gives a unique insight into how our staff make split-second decisions and how the whole of our hospital reacts to ensure that patients stabilise and survive.”

The types of trauma seen in the documentary vary immensely with patients being treated for everything from multiple stab wounds, to cardiac arrest, discovering they have a brain tumour, hitting a wall in a motorcycle sidecar at over 100 miles per hour, to a man suffering horrendous injuries due to a machete attack.


UHNM Emergency Medicine Registrar Dr Jose Martinez-Acacio will be amongst the staff followed by the cameras

The film was commissioned by Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor, Factual, Channel 5 He said: “Critical Condition, with the help of the brilliant team at the Royal Stoke, captures the amazing work of their team in a way that for the first time reveals the dilemmas, instant decisions and exhausting nature of the medics world.

"We are incredibly grateful to the clinical staff and the patients and families for allowing us the privilege of catching these moments in such an intimate and revelatory way.”

Malcolm Brinkworth, EVP, Brinkworth Productions, who made the documentary for Channel 5 said: “By following staff and patients as they confront the difficult realities of emergency medicine, Critical Condition puts viewers at the heart of the battle for life. It’s a powerful, moving and ultimately awe-inspiring look at how staff work to save the lives of their sickest and most injured patients. We hope that this series brings a fresh perspective for viewers as hospital staff wrestle with the complex and never-ending task of saving lives.”

With only the consultants and their teams talking on camera and discussions with the patients and their relatives, Critical Condition is an unprecedented and emotive first-hand glimpse behind the scenes.

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