In this episode doctors deal with patients who suddenly become critically unwell. Samantha is enjoying a trip to an adventure park with her family when she collapses, unable to move or talk. Trauma team leader Dr Ann-Marie Morris discovers Samantha has a severe bleed inside her brain and explains to Samantha’s husband she needs immediate surgical intervention. Neurosurgeon Anthony Roylance steps in – he must attempt to drain the fluid that has built up inside her head if she is to survive.
Meanwhile, Martin is driving his car when he feels the symptoms of a heart attack. The specialist cardiac team discovers he has a large clot in one of his arteries that needs an emergency procedure in order to save his life.
Kevin is driving his van at work when he’s involved in a major road traffic collision and is air lifted to Royal Stoke with potentially life changing injuries. Trauma team leader Vicky Burnham must stabilise him quickly and attempt to save his right leg which has lost blood flow and gone blue.
A mum-of-two who suffered a severe brain haemorrhage is now back with her family and living a normal life, thanks to the fast-acting team at Royal Stoke. 42-year-old Samantha Kember, from Eastbourne, was enjoying a break at Alton Towers last summer with husband Dave and children Amelia and Harry when she experienced sudden severe head pain and began vomiting. She was rushed to hospital after blacking out in her hotel room.
Samantha, who will feature in tonight’s episode of 999: Critical Condition on Channel 5, had to undergo intensive rehabilitation and learn to walk again but incredibly was able to enjoy a family holiday in Florida just months after the incident occurred. She is now driving and has returned to her job at a children’s nursery.
Today Samantha said: “It was the first Friday of our holiday when it happened. My daughter Amelia had just finished her GCSEs and had been to her prom the night before. I had actually felt really unwell the day before we went but we were all looking forward to going and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
“When we were at the park, I started to feel unwell again and so I went to the hotel room to have a lie down. Fortunately Dave came with me. I passed out within five minutes of getting to the room and I don’t remember much after that.
“Life is pretty much back to normal now, although I do have days when I feel very tired. But there are more good days than bad. The staff at Royal Stoke worked so hard and fast to save me, they really were incredible. If they hadn’t been so good, I might not be here now.”
In tonight’s moving episode, emergency medicine consultant Dr Ann-Marie Morris talks about the importance of having compassion for patients and neurosurgery registrar Dr Anthony Roylance rushes Samantha into theatres, where he performs a life-saving procedure to drain fluid from her brain. He says: “Operating on and around the brain always has inherent risk. It’s never a light-hearted decision to take someone to theatre. You think about what if was yourself and it was your family.”
Samantha was diagnosed with ‘Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome’ (RCVS), part of a group of disorders which are characterised by severe headaches and a narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain.
Dave Kember, Samantha’s husband, said: “Thankfully, Samantha received the right intervention at the right time. RCVS is very rare and it’s one of those things that can just happen. The good thing is that when someone recovers, it is as unlikely to happen again as it was in the first place. We just have to enjoy life now and get on with it.”