Episode 6 Recap

Surgeons are forced to use unconventional methods to get their operations completed against the odds, in the final episode of the series.

At Hammersmith Hospital, 31 year-old Jennifer is taking part in a groundbreaking scheme - pioneered at Imperial - to overcome the five year wait on the deceased kidney donor list. Jennifer is a live donor and will save her husband Elliot’s life by donating her left kidney. Elliot has just five percent kidney function and is being kept alive by dialysis three times a week. Because Jennifer isn’t a blood type match for Elliot, she will pool her healthy kidney into a sharing scheme with other donors’. After it is harvested, Jennifer’s kidney will be couriered to another hospital to be transplanted into a stranger. Elliot will receive a kidney from another anonymous donor elsewhere in the UK. Transplant surgeon Frank Dor explains: "It’s one of the most beautiful things to do an operation knowing that people will actually get a second life."

In St Mary’s, 84 year-old Betty arrives to have her bowel cancer removed by Colorectal surgeon George Reese (pictured). After the operation, she will need a high dependency bed, but the hospital is on Red Alert and there is no bed available for her to recover in. George Reese has to decide whether it is safe to go ahead with her operation, knowing that she will have to stay in the operating theatre recovery area after her procedure, rather than on a ward. Reese says: "All of the previous ways we had of negotiating beds have been exhausted.”

After a year and a half on the waiting list, 41 year-old Daniel is booked in for weight loss surgery - also at St Mary’s - with the Trust’s leading bariatric surgeon, Mr Ahmed Ahmed. At 60 percent cancellation rate, bariatric patients are the most likely to have their operations delayed due to lack of post-operative beds. To ensure Daniel gets his life-changing surgery, Mr Ahmed has sought approval to use NHS money to buy beds in The Lindo Wing, one of Imperial’s private hospitals. He explains: "The alternative is not to do any surgery and that would be a complete waste of money, because it costs the NHS £20 a minute to run an operating room."

Written by TonyMayhew on Feb 1, 2017