24 Hours In A&E Review: Nice Break

24 HOURS IN A&E: Wednesday 11th May, C4, 9pm

Want to find out what life is like in an accident & emergency ward? I admit, this isn’t a question that I get asked quite often but, you know, Channel 4 endeavours. If, like most of us, you have experienced one of these environments first hand at one time or another then you’ll be prepared for some of what’s coming in this bluntly titled C4 doc. However this collection stories will add another layer of understanding for even the most accident prone A&E veteran.

Anyho, off to Kings Hospital in London we go, where we immediately see Tom, a 77 year old man who fell off a ladder in his house whilst painting before being transported into hospital with several minutes warning. It was weird. I kept thinking “Where is the footage of us seeing the ladder malfunctioning for several minutes with some dodgy acting?â€?, before I remembered that this wasn’t Casualty, but real life. This meant that there wouldn’t be toe-curling moments with someone like Terry recklessly entering an abandoned fireworks factory with a blowtorch, or a man deciding to fix his gas boiler with playdoh and duct-tape, followed by that actor in the Casualty emergency ward who’s been in there working continuously since I’ve been three.

Whilst Tom is adjusting to his bed, a man then gets rushed into the ward after being run-over by a bus. Just after he’s started treatment, another man who had been found off his bike from Elephant and Castle gets taken in, when he finally regains conciousness, he thinks it’s 2006. How on earth the staff can react to all of these incredibly important scenarios in such a short amount of time is beyond me, but they just do, with professionalism and precision without compromising their own personality. After the man who got run-over changes room for treatment, one of the nurses asks another what she thinks some random lines on her back of her uniform are: “It looks like you’ve been run-over,” says her colleague. “Feels like it.â€? She replies.

My word. This show actually serves a purpose, which makes a nice change from many others we could mention that make us gawp at random issues or jump on any given bandwagon. We’ve always said that we have to give more exposure to those people within our lives that we depend upon in times of need – doctors, nurses, fire-fighters, taxi drivers who take friends home when they slip into the ‘head between legs’ stage of drunkenness – this show does it in simply a non-sensationalist way. There are comprehensive interviews with the doctors, analysis from nurses and doctors breaking down complicated treatments that you see in practice within the ward, quick bites from relatives and friends of those undergoing recovery… No ‘journey’ crap following certain people or heightened music to prove a point. Just some people undergoing impossible situations and a simple message not to take silly risks and enjoy life whilst it lasts.

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