Miss at your peril! The man from the N&N who works miracles

Coming up in ITV Anglia’s blue-light series are three programmes starring top Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital surgeon, A D Patel.

Seeing him re-assemble his badly injured patients shows the sort of bloody miracles that can be wrought by this amazing 21st century bone-setter. He‘s a genius when it comes to sorting out what he calls ‘five star injuries.’

Over the next three weeks ITV Anglia’s top-rating Life on the Line features the county’s leading trauma surgeon Amratlel Patel. AD, as he’s affectionately known by his colleagues, started life wanting to be an engineer. Now he’s celebrating thirty-two years in the NHS. The three programmes add up to a graphic and gory demonstration of his extraordinary skill.

In the first, screened next week on 20th October, AD re-constructs the knee of a man who’s let his skateboard get the better of him. Young Richard thinks he’s twisted his knee. AD discovers otherwise: ‘It’s very severe – a five star injury.’ Richard’s leg is bursting with blood from internal bleeding and AD needs to cut away a good deal of tissue, reduce the pressure and drain the leg before he can even start a long and complex piece of surgery. In the theatre the tension is palpable, the blood looks like an out-take from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and the ironmongery AD puts into Richard’s leg looks like spare parts from the Forth Railway Bridge.

Second up on Monday 27th October is David Bevan. He was out jogging with some friends when a car ploughed into the group from behind. David’s lucky to be alive. As it is, he’s got a broken collar bone and a badly smashed leg. Sure, AD can save it. His skill lies in putting the leg together again in a way that doesn’t give David a limp for life. The collar-bone’s relatively easy meat, just needing a plate and four screws. But watching AD putting the leg back together is like seeing someone assemble a jig-saw puzzle, with the pieces kept in place with plates and screws. When it’s all sorted, an external fixator ensures they don’t move relative to one another, and the whole thing looks like scaffolding on a building.

The third programme, screened on 3rd November, features two of AD’s cases. There’s a broken hip and a three year old boy with a broken arm. Both are particularly nasty breaks.

Betty Lawson’s injured her hip after a fall in the garden. Rio Davy fell out of his top bunk while playing with his brother at home. They’re commonplace enough accidents, but even fifty years ago they might have led to permanent disability. Betty’s fracture has led to a lot of bleeding, and to fix it AD plans to put a steel rod right down the length of Betty’s femur. This – as AD says – is the bit of the job that’s akin to carpentry. Painstakingly drilling out the thigh bone is a business of blood, sweat and – sometimes – tears. At last it’s done, and the ‘nail’s’ in place from the hip to the knee.

With Betty the extent of the injury was obvious. With Rio no proper examination was possible when the boy was conscious: he would have been in excruciating pain. Once anaesthetised and in the operating theatre, AD can take a proper look. The news is bad. It’s a difficult break and it’ll have to be plated – a job the more tricky because of the size of the three year old’s bones. It’s a job that takes patience, skill – and time. At last – success! An X-ray shows the plate in position and holding the bone.

At the end of the day it’s good news time. Betty’s back from the theatre and her hip’s on the mend. And young Rio ’s playing in bed.

For his patients, AD really is a man who works miracles.

Life on the Line transmits on ITV1 in the Anglia region on Mondays. These three episodes featuring Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital trauma surgeon, Mr A D Patel, transmit on:

  • Monday, 20th October at 10.40pm
  • Monday, 27th October at 10.40pm
  • Monday, 3rd November at 10.40pm
  • Monday,  8th December at 10.40pm

Notes for editors: The series is produced by Norwich based Gig House Films Ltd for ITV Anglia. The producer/director is Richard Kennan.

For further information please contact: Kate Faire: kate.faire@btinternet.com ; 07789 636106.

Saturday 18th of October 2008 06:00:32 AM