Surgeons: At the Edge of Life – 13 October 2020 – 13/10/2020 – Tuesday – BBC Two

Series 3 Episode 2 of 4

Addenbrooke’s and Royal Papworth hospitals are two of the country’s leading centres of medical excellence, and they are situated just metres apart on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the largest centre of medical research and health science in Europe. Over the past 100 years, approximately 50 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry physiology or medicine have been associated with Cambridge and, while many of the 40 thousand operations carried out here each year are routine, some are so unusual and complex only surgeons at the top of their game can perform them. This episode focusses on two operations that push their skill and stamina to the limit.

At Royal Papworth, senior consultant thoracic surgeon Aman Coonar calls on the skills of Addenbrooke’s plastic surgeon Charles Malata to undertake a chest wall reconstruction – a complex procedure that is scheduled to last at least 12 hours. Their patient is former builder, 59-year-old Kevin, who has been suffering for 15 years since having a cancerous lung removed. The cancer was cured, but the cavity left in his chest has never healed, and Kevin has had to live with an open hole in his back.

At Addenbrooke’s hospital, another marathon operation also requires the skills of two different specialties – Richard Mannion, one of the hospital’s leading neurosurgeons, and consultant ENT surgeon Patrick Axon. Their patient, 47-year-old father of four Gulraiz, has a rare type of tumour called an acoustic neuroma growing at the back of the brain on his hearing nerve. The tumour is growing so fast it is pressing on Gulraiz’s brain stem and affecting his ability to walk and speak. If it is not removed soon, he will die.

Watch this episode online on BBC iPlayer


About Surgeons: At the Edge of Life

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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