NHS documentary shows a critically ill man, 74, who hurried for an operation without saying goodbye to his family
A persistent NHS documentary showed a critically ill man with barely ten minutes to live rushed for surgery without saying goodbye to his family.
David, 74, was on the verge of death from an eruption of aneurysm in his stomach when he was taken to the Royal Hospital in Liverpool.
The condition, which particularly affects men over the age of 65, often shows no symptoms until it is too late and causes catastrophic internal bleeding.
There was no time left for the father of three, and his family was not allowed to see him before he went under the knife.
To add to the chaos, 11 of the 12 operating rooms in The Royal were closed today because a major merger operation was underway with another hospital in the city.
David, whose second name was not revealed, was one of the few who had been put into the busy schedule because his chances of survival were so low.
After completing the procedure, doctors warned David that his condition was probably due to cigarette smoking – which he admitted to feeling “stupid.”
The NHS says that eight out of ten people with a cracked abdominal aortic aneurysm either die before arriving at the hospital or during surgery.
Men receive 65 years of free screening. But one in five men does not go.
A persistent NHS documentary broadcast tonight shows how a seriously ill man with barely ten minutes to live rushed to surgery without saying goodbye to his family. David, 74, (photo) stood on the brink of death due to a bursting aneurysm in his stomach
There was no time for David’s family to see him before he had anesthesia. He went under emergency surgery (photo)
To make the chaos even bigger, 11 of the 12 operating rooms at The Royal were closed today because a major merger operation was underway with another hospital in the city
The episode last night was the first of the fifth series of BBC Two’s Hospital, in which the emotional stories of NHS patients were told.
The award-winning program follows the daily life of six NHS Trusts in Liverpool, with a catchment area for more than 2.5 million people.
Two hospitals are merged, moving equipment from The Royal Liverpool five miles across the city to Aintree University Hospital.
The big moving day had already been planned for six months and had never been done before.
It came at a time when both hospitals were at full capacity during the winter months. A&E was flooded and emergency situations still needed life-saving surgery.
As part of the relocation strategy, operating rooms at The Royal were closed for 24 hours, affecting around 40-50 patients that day.
One theater remained open for urgent operations – that is where David arrived with only a 50/50 chance of survival.
David, a taxi driver, had abdominal pain – a sign of a larger or bursting aortic aneurysm (AAA).
An AAA is a bulge in the main blood vessel, called the aorta, that runs from the heart, through the chest and to the stomach.
It grows slowly and can be fatal if not noticed early. Often compared to doctors with ‘a blown tire in a car tire’, it causes fatal internal bleeding within minutes.
While David is being operated on, he is told that there is no time to waste. Bringing in family members would only increase the chaos.
While David is being operated on, he is told that there is no time to waste (photo). Bringing in family members would only increase the chaos and he will get anesthesia
David said, “They said that if I had arrived 25 minutes later, I probably wouldn’t have made it”
WHO IS A RISK OF A AAA?
People with a higher risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) include:
- Men aged 65 or older – AAAs are up to six times more common in men than in women, and the risk of getting one increases with age
- People who smoke – if you smoke or used to smoke, you are up to 15 times more likely to get an AAA
- People with high blood pressure – high blood pressure can double the risk of a AAA
- People with a parent, brother or sister or child with an AAA – you are about four times more likely to get an AAA if a close relative has had one
Francesco Torella, the vascular surgeon consultant, immediately started surgery. He clamped the artery and cut the blood flow to the lower body.
Then he restored the anuerysm and removed a large blood clot.
After the operation, David said: “I have never been to the hospital since I was six. Then I go to a large trauma unit without knowing what happens to me.
“The anaesthesiologist, Maria, said,” don’t worry, we’ll get this done. “
‘Then I come with all kinds of tubes in my throat and my family around me crying.
‘She [the doctors] said that if I had arrived 25 minutes later, I probably would not have made it. “
David was told that smoking was probably the cause of his AAA – the habit increases the risk by 15 times, according to the NHS.
David said: ‘When I realized what I had been through, it didn’t scare me, it scared me.
“You look at your family and realize what you have done to them through your stupidity, through your lifestyle.”
AAAs are up to six times more common in men than in women, and the risk of getting one increases with age.
In England, screening for AAAs is offered to men during the year that they turn 65. But thousands don’t go.
About 81 percent of the men invited to the screening were tested in the year 2018/2019, according to Public Health England. That means that one in five does not show up.
BBC’s Hospital also followed one of The Royal’s sickest patients on their removal day; Blessing, a mother of one.
The 27-year-old is sick with the chronic autoimmune disease lupus. It causes inflammation and damage to organs and blessing has kidney failure.
She uses immunosuppressants to treat lupus, making her immune system weaker.
But she developed a knee infection, whose body was too weak to fight. She was feared to stand on the edge of sepsis when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue in response to an infection.
Dr. Anijeet, the consultant nephrologist, said: “The infection of the knee by blessing can potentially cause sepsis that affects all organs. The potential risk is that the patient dies. “
One of the sickest patients at The Royal on their removal day was Blessing, a mother-of-one
It is feared that blessing is on the verge of sepsis when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue in response to an infection. She needed emergency surgery
Queen, Blessing’s mother, said, “It’s so hard for a mother if your child is in pain and can’t help you”
Blessing needed urgent keyhole surgery to wash away the infection in her knee. But all the necessary equipment was five miles away in Aintree.
She was too sick to be moved across Liverpool, so surgeons decided to operate without advanced equipment.
Instead, they used traditional syringes and pumped six liters of saline into her knee. They operated ‘blind’ because they did not have an arthroscope – a tool with a camera at the end that would be inserted into the knee.
Queen, Blessing’s mother, said: “If I cry, the problem is not solved. So I try to stay stuck, even though I melt away in my head.
“You have the questions;” “Why them? Why couldn’t it be me?” She is so good, supportive and hardworking. “
The operation was a success. But Blessing got fluid in the lungs and her lupus flared up.
Her heart is now under enormous pressure from the inflammation caused by her lupus.
Queen said, “It’s so hard for a mother if your child is in pain and you can’t help it.”
The hospital is next on BBC Two on Thursday, February 20 at 9 p.m.