Each programme of this new series, filmed in one of Britain’s busiest A&E departments at King’s College Hospital, London, focuses on the dramatic stories of patients treated within the same 24-hour period.
In this episode, the Emergency Department is besieged with Saturday night drunks. Alcohol is one of the biggest causes of injury seen by at King’s A&E: on an average weekend half the cases can be alcohol-related. Thirty-nine-year-old Sean has had one too many, tripped over a clothes horse, fallen and broken his neck. The medical team have attached blocks to the sides of his head to stop him from moving his neck and prevent him from paralysing himself, but it’s a struggle to persuade him to leave them there. Andrew, 26, has been arrested after a day of heavy drinking. ‘To be honest with you I can’t remember too much about it,’ he says.
The police have brought him to King’s because he’s cut his hand putting it through a window. It takes two officers to hold him still, and, after he refuses to co-operate, three to lead him away to the police van waiting outside. And 56-year-old David is a long-term alcoholic who’s collapsed in the street and bashed his head. When he was two, he survived a plane crash that killed his mother. ‘That may have started it, I don’t know,’ he says. He drinks a bottle of brandy in the morning and another in the evening. ‘Booze has ruined my life,’ he adds. ‘I’ve basically wasted my life.’ Sister Clare has seen the consequences of drink. She says: ‘I’ve looked after somebody that has drunk so much they actually bled to death in front of me.’
Wednesday 1st June, 9PM, Channel 4