Critical Condition Series 3


8 x 60'

Production company

Brinkworth Television

Year of production


Commissioning channels

Channel 5

The ground-breaking medical programme returns for a gripping third season, once again reflecting the minute-by-minute reality of the emergency room.

With extraordinary access to the trauma unit at The Royal University Hospital in Stoke, England, Critical Condition charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies performed by specialist consultants and their teams.

Powerful, moving and ultimately awe-inspiring, this documentary series is set apart from other casualty-style series by its technique. Shot on prime lenses, these are fast-cut, fast-paced films told through the thoughts of the staff as they fight to keep people alive - with remarkable results.

Episode 1

In this episode a young woman is admitted with life-threatening head injuries sustained in a car accident. Clinical Director Dr Richard Hall must make split second critical decisions. Can the team save her life?
Then there is another urgent case. Shane – a fire fighter and father of four – has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer despite being an exceptionally fit and healthy 40-year-old. There is a narrow window of opportunity to operate on this fast-moving cancer before it is too late. In an eight-hour operation Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon Mr Oliver Priest must try to remove this fast-moving cancer to give him the best chance of survival.
In the trauma unit, team Leader Alex Hart and the surgical team provide urgent care for a motorcyclist with devastating injuries to his foot following a crash. After stabilising him, the motorcyclist is rushed to surgery in a desperate attempt to save his leg. A life-saving choice emerges, and it involves a heartbreaking decision in the midst of emergency surgery.
Following the medical staff as they take difficult life and death decisions, this episode charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies to save lives. It is a world where there are rarely any second chances.

Episode 2

In this episode, Damion has sustained numerous traumatic injuries after being trapped upside down in his car after a crash. Despite numerous injuries to the head and chest, Trauma Team Leader Dr Chris Pickering is most worried about Damion’s lungs as his patient struggles to breathe.

The stakes are high too for David. A fun-loving grandfather who loves to ride his motorbikes, David has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour that is pressing on his brain stem. He needs an emergency operation or the tumour will kill him. But the sixteen hour operation with neurosurgeon Mr Price is high risk.

Meanwhile as Dr Diane Adamson rushes to treat Janet, a female motorbike passenger involved in another serious crash, a second trauma call goes out - this time for her partner Martin. Both patients have significant injuries. At first, Janet seems to be the less urgent of the two, but then Dr Adamson discovers that there is no time to lose. Janet’s life is on the line.

Episode 3

Cara has fallen 50 metres down a waterfall. She has multiple obvious injuries that need urgent care, but trauma specialist Dr Richard Fawcett must also investigate hidden internal injuries that are an immediate threat to life. Cara is aware of the peril she’s in – and asks Dr Fawcett whether he thinks she’ll survive. When she suddenly deteriorates in the scan room, Richard and the team have to make split second decisions on how to treat her.

Robert arrives in a critical condition; he’s unconscious and his eyes are not reacting to the light. Dr Salmon Islam, the on-duty anaesthetist, is concerned. They need to stabilise him and get him urgently to an operating theatre for an emergency operation to stop a build-up of fluid in his brain. His life is on a knife edge.

Meanwhile Trauma Team Leader Dr Alex Hart treats a victim of a high-speed car crash. Within minutes of his arrival, Dr Hart suspects the patient has life-threatening head injuries and quickly books surgeons, theatres, and CT scans to deliver urgent care for this priority case.

And Dr Anthony Taylor faces a patient with a condition that has haunted him for over twenty years. It is a fast-growing neck tumour that’s broken through the skin and is bleeding. As the tumour has wrapped itself around a key artery, surgery is not an option and staff battle to stem the bleeding before it’s too late.

Following the medical staff as they take difficult life and death decisions, this episode charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies to save lives. It is a world where there are rarely any second chances.

Episode 4

In this episode Wayne is rushed in by helicopter after his parachute fails and he is slammed into the ground 100 feet below. With potentially life-threatening injuries Trauma Team Leader Chris Pickering has to assess the multiple issues quickly. He races him to a scan but Wayne’s blood pressure dramatically suddenly crashes. Then he receives news that Wayne potentially has an injury to his renal artery, which if left untreated, will kill him. The race is on to get him to theatre.

Elsewhere Marc has also suffered a significant trauma after he has a head on collision with another vehicle. Even though he’s conscious and asking questions, Trauma Team Leader Julie Norton is concerned that he could have a basal skull fracture. As Marc’s parents rush to the hospital, she must deliver difficult news to his family and urgently get him the care he needs.

For Charlie, there’s not a moment to lose as he is brought in for emergency surgery. An adrenal tumour is causing his blood pressure to rocket sky high and surgeon Mr Golash knows he must remove it before Charlie has a cardiac arrest. But once on the table, Charlie’s condition deteriorates rapidly as he is anaesthetised and his blood pressure begins to soar. As his condition worsens, all surgeon Mr Golash can do, is stand back and wait to see if the anaesthetist can stablise him in time for his critical surgery to begin.

Finally, it’s all systems go when Karl is rushed to the Emergency Department after the tractor he was fixing begins to roll backwards, crushing his leg and chest against a van. Trauma Team leader Chris Pickering immediately fears the worst, but soon learns that Karl has had an amazing Houdini like escape - but at what cost?

Episode 5

It’s a busy night for Trauma Team Leader Julie Norton, who is juggling two life threatening cases who arrive into the Emergency Department within minutes of each other. Both have potentially fatal hidden injuries. Lewis is an 18 year old emergency transfer from another hospital, who has suffered a cardiac arrest after being stabbed in the chest with a 20cm kitchen knife. Whilst his life has been saved by open heart massage, Julie knows that there’s huge risk that he has suffered other internal injuries in the attack which may be still be bleeding and she must act fast before his condition deteriorates again.

Meanwhile 87 year old Welsh farmer Eric, arrives in huge pain after being head butted by his favourite cow. Whilst Eric’s laboured breathing immediately suggests a chest injury, Julie is also worried about any other damage which might not be so obvious. A CT scan reveals a bleeding artery in Eric’s liver and the race is on to get him to surgery before it’s too late.

For Vivienne too, time is of the essence. She’s been diagnosed with an aneurism in one of the body’s major vessels and has a ‘ticking time bomb’ in her head which she’s worried will erupt. For surgeon Dr Nayak, there’s not a moment to lose, as he knows that if Vivienne’s artery bursts, it will be a battle to save her.

Finally Andy is brought in with multiple injuries after a motorcycle accident. With broken ribs, spinal fractures and chest injuries, TTL Julie Norton breaks the news to his wife and teenage family that whilst Andy has miraculously avoided paralysis, it’s likely that his condition will deteriorate before he improves.

Episode 6

In this episode, 17 year old Dougie is rushed in by helicopter after a mountain bike accident leaves him with a catastrophic head injury. A scan shows his brain is bleeding and as young people’s brains are more susceptible to the effects of rising pressure, Neurological Registrar Bobby Sachdev knows that he needs to act quickly to prevent long term injury, or even death.

Age is also a significant factor for Joe and his wife Sheila, who need urgent care after both being injured in a major road traffic accident. It’s clear that the couple are in great pain when they arrive, but it’s not until Trauma Team Leader Ann-Marie Morris begins to investigate further that she discovers they both have multiple fractures. In a couple who are advancing in years, these injuries could lead to complications which could be life changing for them both and Ann- Marie battles to give them the urgent care they so desperately need.

Elsewhere, Vance has been rushed into hospital for an emergency operation. A recently diagnosed cancer is blocking his stomach, essentially starving him to death. It’s now or never for Surgeon Oliver Priest, who knows that he must remove both the tumour and Vance’s stomach to give him any chance of survival. But midway through the surgery he makes a discovery that changes everything for his patient.

Finally 49 year old Elton is brought in with a crushing pain in his chest. Having just lost his father to a heart attack, he is rushed to the Cath Lab for an operation to clear the blockage. But will the team be able to perform the life-saving procedure before his heart stops and history repeats itself?

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Trailer: Critical Condition Series 3