NINTCHDBPICT000714096762Credit: The Garden
A FORMER Royal Marine is almost paralysed after a fall makes his neck practically separate from his spine.
The injury is thought to have happened when Wesley toppled off a chair.
From left to right: Chloe Baker, Dr Jonathan Leung, William Harvey, Tiffany, Dr Morgan McMonagle and Naomi FelthouseCredit: Tom Barnes/Channel 4
Barman Danilo, 28, from North West London, was brought in by air ambulance as a code red case after crashing his motorbikeCredit: The Garden
Patients are often Lily was airlifted to hospital so they can receive expert treatment as quickly as possibleCredit: The Garden
The 78-year-old had been falling frequently and was taken to Ealing Hospital, West London, after blood tests found a perilously high calcium count in his blood.
He had an op to remove the thyroid gland in his neck that was causing the raised calcium — but pre-op scans also revealed the spine damage.
He was later moved to St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, central London — where he was filmed for new Channel 4 documentary series Emergency, which airs nightly on Channel 4 from today till March 3.
Wesley, who is now back on his feet following surgery, recalls: “I was told my spine was very precarious and that’s why I was struggling to stand up and balance.
“I was then told I might need surgery, but initially they put a collar on to keep my neck stationary and prevent further damage to the spine. I kept that on for three months.”
Wesley, of Northolt, West London, then suffered a seizure and was told if he did not have surgery he could be paralysed for life.
He says: “I used to be in the Army, and have been to places where I had bullets flying all around. But nothing was scarier than to be told you could be crippled for life.
“I had always been very active. I used to run ten miles a day and was a boxer. I said yes to surgery. I had no choice.”
Accidents such as Wesley’s are everyone’s worst nightmare, but trauma kills SIX MILLION people a year worldwide, including 16,000 in the UK. It is the leading cause of death in people under the age of 44, and many who do survive are left with life-changing disabilities.
The new documentary follows the work of the London Trauma System — a network of 39 hospitals plus ambulance and air ambulance services set up after the Tube and bus bombings in London on July 7, 2005.
It aims to save lives by getting patients to big units where a range of specialists are on hand to help with multiple and complex injuries.
It treats more than 12,000 people a year, and since it was set up in 2010, trauma survival rates have risen by 50 per cent.
Surgeon Dr Morgan McMonagle, director of trauma training for the Royal College of Surgeons, is among those featured on the show.
He says of his NHS colleagues: “Every day has its surprises. When a crisis hits, be it a stab-bing or mass casualty situation, you really get to see the well-oiled machine performing at its best.
“This was highlighted in 2017 by the response to the Westminster Bridge and London Bridge attacks and the Grenfell fire tragedy.
“The British public should be very proud of the NHS. When you see us come together in a major trauma situation, that’s when you see us at our best. I call it Trauma Justice League.”
The show also features London Air Ambulance Service registrar Dr Chloe Baker; Dr Jonathan Leung, a consultant at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent; Dr Tasha Newton, a consultant anaesthetist and trauma unit director at the same hospital; Naomi Felthouse, a senior physiotherapist at central London’s King’s College Hospital; and Tiffany, a trauma nurse at St George’s Hospital in South London.
Dr Baker’s own life was saved after she was hit by a lorry while cycling in 2007, when a 21-year-old student. Now she helps save others.
She says of her roadside rescuers: “I only remember their orange ankles, high-vis stripes and black boots, but I still remember today the calmness of their voices.”
Dr Newton is also deputy clinical director for South East London, Kent and Medway. She says: “I oversee care of seriously injured patients, making decisions around what equipment, training and patient journeys are needed. I’m never off call.
“I also treat patients face-to-face about once a week at the William Harvey Hospital. The rest of the week, I’m a consultant anaesthetist. One day a week I work as a retrieval doctor transferring critically unwell patients between hospitals.
Dr Leung is shown when 17-year-old patient Frazer comes in after a fall, and scans show a life-changing injury. Dr Leung and his team work to stabilise him before he can be moved for more specialist care at King’s College Hospital.
Meanwhile, Wesley says when he looks back at footage of himself, he finds it hard to believe it is him.
During a ten-hour op, a metal plate was inserted at the base of his skull to reconnect his neck with his spine. When he woke, his doctor asked him to lift his arms and legs — and he recalls: “Though I was restricted, I could move. He said that was a good sign, and I’ve never felt so relieved.”
Wesley then went into rehabilitation. He says: “It was slow progress but eventually I could get up and down stairs, and was released to stay with my sister.
“When I look back at the footage of myself, I am shocked. I look a shadow of the man I was. But slowly, day by day, I am getting back to my former self. The medical staff in the trauma team are at the top of their game. If it wasn’t for them, I might not have walked again.”
‘TOP OF THEIR GAME’
The documentary was filmed last year over two weeks in July. Viewers see a patient admitted with a chainsaw injury, a one-year-old who was crushed under a TV, a teenager who fell 30ft off a cliff and a man squashed by a 400kg air-conditioning unit.
But one of the most harrowing stories is that of Lily, 12, who fights for life after being hit by a car travelling at 50mph, which catapulted her ten metres along the road.
She suffered a shattered pelvis and broken hip, and had two seizures after the impact, which paramedics were worried had caused serious brain injury.
Lily was airlifted to St George’s Hospital, where doctors placed her in an induced coma to reduce brain swelling.
Then surgeons operated to fix her hip. It was a success — but if it had failed, Lily might have struggled to walk as she would have had different length legs.
She went home in a wheelchair after two weeks in hospital and has now recovered well.
The documentary also sees Wayland, 53, blue-lighted to St Mary’s Hospital after being stabbed outside a restaurant.
He suffered a 10cm-wide wound to his abdomen and was bleeding heavily. Luckily, the blade missed vital organs, and after emergency surgery Wayland was stapled up and sent home the next day.
This is the first time the inner workings of the London Trauma System have been shown on TV. It is made up of four major trauma centres in the capital — St George’s Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital and The Royal London Hospital — as well as 35 centres in Greater London and the Home Counties.
Barman Danilo, 28, from North West London, is brought in by air ambulance as a code red case after crashing his motorbike. Paramedics call a code red when they believe a patient could have just minutes to live.
Danilo suffered multiple injuries including a ruptured aorta — the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
He also had a broken pelvis, broken wrist and degloved leg — where the top layers of skin and body tissue are ripped from the muscle, ligaments and bone underneath, which in itself can be life-threatening.
Around 90 per cent of patients with a ruptured aorta die, but Danilo is rushed for surgery where doctors fit a stent in an attempt to fix his aorta and stop the bleeding.
He spends three weeks in the trauma centre before being moved to a ward for physio, and is finally reunited with girlfriend Giulia. As he recovers, he says: “Everyone from the doctors to the nurses and paramedics are heroes for me.”
You can see Emergency on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm and at the same time over the next three nights.
Former Royal Marine Wesley was almost paralysed after a fall made his neck practically separate from his spineCredit: The Garden
A child patient is treated by a nurse at the Royal London HospitalCredit: The Garden