Skip to main content Skip to footer

Series 5

In this episode, 26 year old Tino is rushed into hospital after a car crash. It’s clear that he is suffering from excruciating abdominal pain. Immediately suspicious that the force of the crash could have done more widespread damage, Trauma Team Leader Julie Norton rushes her patient to scan, where her worst fears are revealed. Tino is suffering from a potentially life-threatening aortic tear, which if left untreated, could burst – killing him in seconds.

For Frank, the threat of blood loss is also a major issue. Having fallen backwards as he attempted to go up a shopping centre escalator, Frank impaled his head on the metal step and was dragged feet first up the escalator. By the time he is rushed into the hospital, he has already lost a huge amount of blood from a major vein in his head and Trauma Team Leader Richard Fawcett, knows he must bring the bleeding under control, before it’s too late.

Meanwhile first year university student Izaac, is rushed in for surgery to remove a tumour which is sitting perilously close to the part of his brain which controls his speech. Having lived with regular and traumatic seizures for over 2 years, he must now face a potentially life changing three-hour procedure where his skull is drilled open and the tumour removed – all whilst he is awake.

And finally, time is of the essence for Mohan who is rushed in gasping for air during a potentially catastrophic asthma attack. Fearing that the lack of oxygen will have devastating consequences, Trauma Team Leader Raj springs into action before his patient’s lack of oxygen causes his heart to stop.

In this episode, 50 year old Paul is rushed in with some of the worst facial injuries that the team has ever seen. Having somersaulted off his quad bike, Paul’s head has taken the full impact of the accident, leaving him with life-changing damage to his face and skull.

Whilst it’s the catastrophic injuries to Paul’s eyes that are immediately apparent, it’s his breathing which Trauma Team Leader Richard Hall is initially most concerned with. Coughing up blood and unable to open his mouth properly, Paul is very obviously struggling to draw breath. With most of the bones in his face broken, the team know that if they don’t act fast, there’s a very real danger that Paul’s face will collapse in on itself - essentially suffocating him.

With the clock ticking, Paul is rushed to theatre to secure his airway, in what will turn out to be the first of several surgeries to attempt to save his life.

Meanwhile, the team are put on high alert to receive a patient who is seriously injured and needs emergency specialist care. Diane’s car has been in collision with a van, leaving her with multiple broken ribs and a spinal fracture. But it’s the damage to her oesophagus which is the biggest cause for concern for Trauma Team Leader Paul Hancock. He knows that if there is a tear in her windpipe, the contents of her stomach could leak out into her body, causing a life-threatening infection.

Finally, when a patient is brought in unconscious, having fallen whilst standing up in a care home, Trauma Team Leader Paul goes into detective mode. With very little information to work off, Paul must rapidly piece together what little he does know, to work out the best course of action for his patient whose health is rapidly declining. It’s a race against time.

When 64 year old Barry is rushed into resus with suspected sepsis, Doctor Jamil Aslam, is immediately worried. Struggling to breathe and on the maximum dose of oxygen, Barry’s body is shutting down fast. As staff desperately battle to stablise him, Barry’s condition deteriorates, and Jamil knows that it’s a race against time to save his critically ill patient.

Next, when a call comes in about a terrifying horse-riding accident, staff in the Emergency Department are immediately on high alert. Lucy’s horse has somersaulted whilst jumping a huge fence – catapulting her to the ground and then landing on top of her. Whilst Lucy has obvious tenderness on her left side, it’s her feet that Trauma Team Leader Paul Hancock is most worried about. With no feeling below mid-calf, Paul fears Lucy may have suffered significant nerve damage, which may mean that she could be paralysed.

Across the hospital Ena is rushed in for a high-risk emergency surgery. Having discovered that she has a highly aggressive form of bladder cancer, Ena is now facing a complex 7 hour procedure, where urologist, Mr Gommersall will use a robot to remove her bladder in a desperate attempt to stop the cancer from spreading.

Back in the Emergency Department, 78 year old Alan has suffered one of the worst compound fractures that the team has ever seen. Out walking his dog, Alan tripped and has been left with a significant amount of bone which has broken through the skin of his ankle. Doctor Waheed Ghani knows that every second counts if he is to avoid infection - which in a man of Alan’s age - could well be life threatening. 

Finally, student paramedic Ethan is rushed in after an accident on the way home from a shift on the ambulances. Involved in a head-on car crash, Ethan is in great pain from an ankle injury. But it’s firmness in his stomach that Trauma Team Leader Richard Fawcett is immediately worried about. He knows that this could be a sign of life-threatening internal bleeding and the race is on to get Ethan to scan to diagnose him, before it’s too late.


This week at Royal Stoke, 23 year old Sam is rushed in with an excruciating pain in his lungs. Having coughed up over two mugs of blood, he’s now struggling to breathe and has been losing consciousness as a result. As his condition deteriorates rapidly, Trauma Team Leader Paul Hancock knows he has little time to act. He suspects a pulmonary embolism - which, if left untreated, could cause life-long damage to Sam’s heart.

Meanwhile staff rush to attend a 66 year old patient who has been found at home in cardiac arrest. As resus staff take over life-saving CPR from the paramedics, they know that their patient has been down for a considerable time. Even if they do manage to restart their patient’s heart, TTL Paul knows there may still be some tough decisions to make ahead.

Across the hospital, surgery isn’t coming a moment too soon for Charlie who has been living with unbearable pain in his legs for several years. Cardiovascular surgeon Mr Calderwood, suspects that Charlie has major damage to the aorta which supplies the blood to his lower body. With his patient now virtually a prisoner in his own armchair, there’s only one cure –  an aortic by-pass. But will Charlie want to go ahead with a surgery which carries such huge risk of a potentially catastrophic bleed?  

Finally, Peter is flown in from Wales, having been gored by an angry, tusked boar. With deep wound damage to his calf, TTL Paul Hancock needs to evaluate the wound quickly. If the blood supply to Peter’s leg has been badly damaged, that could mean the potential loss of a limb.

In this episode, 42 year old Robert is rushed into Royal Stoke after a cardiac arrest at home. Whilst paramedics have re-started his heart, it’s Robert’s crippling stomach pain which worries Trauma Team Leader, Richard Hall the most.

Learning that his patient has had the pain for nearly a month, Richard rushes him to the scanner, where the team discover a perforated bowel which is leaking faeces into Robert’s body. Without emergency surgery, Robert’s leaking bowel will quite literally, poison him to death. Now the race is on to get him to theatre for an emergency operation – before it’s too late.

A severe pain in the abdomen is also the concern for Matthew. He has been slammed in to his BMX’s handlebars after a high speed accident. As Matthew’s pain levels soar, Trauma Team Leader Julie Norton suspects that Matthew has significant internal injuries. But it’s only when she sees the extent of the damage to his spleen after a scan that she realises just how seriously injured her patient is.

When Mario is rushed into resus, his injuries are instantly more obvious. His legs have taken the full impact of a terrifying explosion from a bonfire and now doctors must open up his legs to remove his clots, before the circulation is severely compromised. Unless they act quickly, the risk is that Mario could lose his leg.

Finally, Jean is admitted after a fall down her stairs at home. She has excruciating pain in her back, but that’s not what worries the medical staff the most. Each time they take her off oxygen, Jean’s blood pressure drops significantly and now the race is on to find the cause, before her condition deteriorates further.

In this episode, Trauma Team Leader Diane Adamson is put on high alert when a call comes in about a builder who has had a terrifying 25 foot fall through a roof. When Tomasz is rushed in, he’s in excruciating pain, having landed heavily on his feet – with his lower body and spine taking the full impact.


Given his spiralling pain levels and knowing that builders only come to hospital when they really have to, Diane has major concerns about the potential damage to Tomasz’s spine. Rushing her patient to the scanner, she confirms her worst fears. Tomasz has three spinal fractures – injuries which if not treated properly and immediately - could leave him paralysed in a wheelchair for life.  


Meanwhile for 19 year old Anya, there’s not a moment to lose. Literally gasping for air, Anya is having a full-blown acute asthma attack, which is putting her young body under massive strain. Despite the paramedic’s best efforts, Anya’s condition has deteriorated rapidly on the way into the hospital and Registrar Sunday Ekaidem needs to act fast, before her body shuts down completely.  


Across the hospital, Melissa is preparing herself for a time-critical procedure which is fraught with danger.  Just 17 weeks pregnant and suffering from papillary thyroid cancer, Melissa must undergo surgery to completely remove her thyroid and 30 of her lymph nodes. Already a high-risk procedure, the operation must take place in her second trimester, to avoid increasing the already high chance that she has of miscarrying her unborn daughter in the middle of surgery.  


Back in resus, a serious fall which happened four days previously, has finally caught up with 59 year old Tim. Having passed out at the top of the stairs and plummeted downwards, Tim had been trying to manage the agonising pain, until the discovery of a high concentration of blood in his urine, lead him to call the emergency services. Now the race is on to diagnose where and why Tim is internally bleeding. 

In this episode, Matthew is rushed in after a horrific high-speed collision between his motorbike and a tractor. Whilst it’s obvious that Matthew’s chest has taken the full force of the 50mph impact, Trauma Team Leader Mark Poulson knows that an accident at this speed has the potential to have other hidden, life-threatening injuries. Rushing Matthew to the scanner, Mark desperately needs to assess all of the damage before Matthew’s condition deteriorates further. 

Across the hospital, neurosurgeon Mr Brydon is preparing to do a highly complex removal of a rare tumour in 39 year old Donna’s brain. Having suffered from slight dizziness and blurred vision, Donna is now facing a mammoth 12 hour procedure as surgeons navigate their way - with only millimetres to spare - past the arteries which are the major blood suppliers to the brain.

Meanwhile in resus, the team are put on high alert to receive a patient who needs immediate, emergency special care. Having been hit by a high-speed kick from his favourite cow, and despite being in extreme pain, John has managed to drag himself across his farm in a desperate attempt to get help. Once in resus, it’s immediately that something is badly wrong in his stomach and the team scramble to get him to theatre to do a vital ripped bowel repair that will save his life.

Finally, Jim is rushed in after taking a massive fall from his attic and gouging most of the flesh out from around his elbow. Describing the injury as something which looks like ‘a shark attack’, Trauma Team Leader Anthony Taylor knows that trying to knit such a deep wound back together, in a man of Jim’s age, will be a challenge.

In this episode of 999: Critical Condition, Michael is rushed into resus with a significant laceration to his head. Having plummeted 15 feet onto concrete, his head has taken the full impact of the fall and causing a substantial wound which is bleeding out.

Each time that Trauma Team leader, Richard Fawcett attempts to remove the dressing to examine his wound, Michael’s head begins to bleed even more heavily – until most of his upper body is covered in blood.

Springing into action, Richard knows he has to act fast and he races to try and stem the bleed before Michael’s condition deteriorates even further.

Next, it’s all hands-on-deck to receive 38-year-old Nathan who has suffered a number of life-threatening fits after a potential blackout in falling downstairs. Confused and disorientated, Nathan has a significant pain in his head and Trauma Team Leader Hari Mandava, is worried that his patient has suffered a life-threatening bleed in his brain. He urgently needs to get Nathan to scan to see if he needs emergency surgery.

Across the hospital Margaret is being prepared for a time-critical operation which will repair a huge hernia which has allowed most of her stomach to move upwards into her chest - twisting and threatening its blood supply. There’s not a moment to lose for surgeon Mr Priest, who knows that if he doesn’t repair the damage and bring Margaret’s stomach down into the correct position, large portions of her stomach will die, releasing food out into her chest with dire consequences.

Finally, back in resus, Gareth is rushed in after being run-over by his own van, which has crushed his leg - causing potentially life-changing damage. Trauma Team leader Paul Hancock knows that there’s not a moment to lose. If the blood supply to the limb has been damaged by the fractured bones, Gareth could end up losing his leg.


Patient Stories

Series 1 introduced us to a whole host of incredible patient stories. Here are just a few of them​...


A 73-year-old Staffordshire granddad who looked like he’d been “mauled by a lion” after falling on a moving escalator is to feature in the first episode of the latest series of 999: Critical Condition, the exclusive documentary charting the life and death decisions and actions of staff at University Hospitals of North Midlands.

Frank Ball, of Hednesford, near Cannock, was dragged upside down on an escalator impaling his head and trapping his leg before being taken to the Major Trauma Centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Today Frank, a retired electrical engineer, said: “My wife and I had ordered me a new coat and we popped in to pick it up. As I got on the escalator she called me back because the collection point was on the ground floor and as I turned round I fell forward. The escalator got my trousers and started taking me up backwards. My injuries pretty much made me look like I had been mauled by a lion; there was a lot of blood.”

He added: “Once arriving at Stoke I received a full body scan to check my injuries and my head was the worst and luckily I didn’t break my leg.  However, I did break a vertebrae in the top of my spine and you could see my skull.”

Frank, who has two children and two grandchildren, needed a skin graft about 5cm by 6cm on his head. He said: “They took the skin from my thigh. My hair is growing back now and everyone is amazed at how well my head has healed.”

Frank was brought into resus at Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent and his story will be told in the latest series of 999: Critical Condition on Channel 5, tonight (Wednesday 10 May) at 9pm.

He said: “It was the first time I have been to hospital in Stoke and I was so pleased with the care I receive. I have been back on an escalator but I don’t like them. It’s had much more of an effect on my wife Rosalind who thought I was a-gonna. The good news though is that the coat fit!

A community carer who was rushed to University Hospitals of North Midlands Major Trauma Centre after a road accident left her with multiple injuries is to feature in the latest episode of 999: Critical Condition.

Diane Ryles, of Sandbach, was on her way home in January when a van ploughed into the back of her car leaving her with multiple broken ribs and a spinal fracture. However, it was concerns about internal injuries which meant she was transferred from Leighton Hospital to the specialist centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

The hospital works within the North West Midlands and North Wales Trauma Network and when anyone is seriously injured in incidents such as vehicle collisions, falls, or assaults, they are taken either directly or transferred to Royal Stoke where there is rapid access to a full range of specialist services for the management of life threatening injuries.

Today Diane said: “I was taken to Leighton Hospital but they were concerned I had internal injuries so was transferred to the trauma centre where I received a CT scan and MRI.

“They were worried I had damaged my oesophagus because if there was a tear is could have been really serious but thankfully everything was okay.”

She added: “Everything happened so fast once I arrived in Stoke but they were a fantastic team and I wish I could thank everyone who saw me individually.

 “I received such amazing care from all the emergency services, the police who attended the crash, the fire service who cut me free, the paramedic and he wonderful doctors and nurses at Leighton and of course Royal Stoke. I felt I was in safe hands the whole time and it made me feel so grateful.”

61-year-old Diane, who cares for her mother at home, said: “I am only just getting back to driving but I am very nervous if I am on my own and particularly if I can see a van coming up behind me, but I am getting there and my injuries are all good.”

Diane story will be screened on Channel 5 at 9pm on Wednesday 17 May in the critically acclaimed documentary which is filmed exclusively at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Diane said: “I watched last week’s episode to prepare myself and mum for what we might see and I think it is a fantastic programme. It is easy to get frustrated when waiting in A&E because you don’t realise what is going on behind closed doors and that there are often people much much worse off than you needing quicker and more urgent care.”

A 21-year-old student teacher who can no longer feel her left leg after being crushed by her horse is to feature in the latest episode of 999: Critical Condition, the exclusive documentary charting the life and death decisions and actions of staff at Royals Stoke University Hospital.

Lucy Croucher, of Winsford, Cheshire was airlifted to the Major Trauma Centre after coming off her horse and being crushed by him while trying to jump a fence in Horton, near Nantwich in Jauary this year.

Film crews from Brinkworth Productions were there to capture Lucy’s arrival at Royal Stoke Emergency Department where doctors were originally concerned she was paralysed. Her story will be included in 999: Critical Condition on Wednesday (24 May) at 9pm on Channel 5.

Today Lucy, who has ridden since she was 18 months old, said: “We went to jump a fence and the ground was really boggy. The horse sank in the mud and we both went over. He’s a big horse at 18 hands and very heavy. He landed on top of me and completely crushed me. It was a horrible experience and one I would never want to live through again. I passed out and when I came too there was the worry that I couldn’t feel my legs.”

She added: “At first doctors thought I might have damaged my spine, but instead I have been diagnosed with functional neurological disorder which means I just can’t feel my left leg. The nerves in my spine have been damaged by the trauma and they’ve not rebooted. The doctors think the feeling might come back at some point but no-one knows for sure.”

Lucy, who is studying to be a primary school teacher at Staffordshire University, is not letting her injuries stop her though. After spending five weeks at Royal Stoke she got back in the saddle just eight weeks after the accident and will be competing for the first time following the incident at the International Side Saddle Show in Aintree this weekend.

“I got back on Mambo after eight weeks. It was terrifying but good to be back in the saddle again. IK have to adapt and change the way I ride and get on and off because I can’t feel my leg properly but I am determined it won’t stop me doing what I love,” Lucy explained.

She added: “I had great care every step on the way at Stoke and I keep bumping into the student nurses who took care of me on campus at university who still ask me how I am doing.”

Ena Plant , of Jackfield, near Ironbridge, had her bladder removed at Royal Stoke University Hospital after doctors diagnosed her wife bladder cancer.

The 76-year-old’s story featured in this week’s episode of 999: Critical Condition on Wednesday on Channel 5 and is now available on demand at My 5. 

Today Ena said: “I was having trouble going to the toilet and had blood in my urine but there was no infection. It was only after I started to develop severe pain that I was referred for a scan that they discovered a big tumour on the side of my bladder and a smaller one inside.”

She was referred to the specialist oncology service at Royal Stoke to have non-invasive surgery using a new state-of-the-art surgical robot.

The intuitive Da Vinci Xi dual console robotic system costing £2.0 million was funded by the Denise Coates Foundation as part of their support for the development of the UHNM’s cancer services which has been delivered via an £8.4 million grant to UHNM Charity.

The technology enables surgeons to perform advanced robotic procedures using cutting-edge technology.

Ena, who now uses a urostomy or bag, said: “Mr Gommersall explained what would happen during my surgery so I was excited to be able to watch it on the television.

“The procedure itself went really well and they managed to get all the cancer and I’m doing okay now. I am always on the go and thankfully have got used to using the bag on my own so I am back in the garden and able to do my hanging baskets.”

Robotic surgery has been performed at UHNM since 2017.  Urologist Mr Lyndon Gommersall who specialises in robotic pelvic cancer surgery to treat advanced bladder cancer patients and treated grandmother Ena, said: “Urology has embraced technology over the last 20 years using minimally invasive laparoscopic keyhole surgery and now robotic surgery. It has been really exciting to be able to integrate this technology in to our working lives to help patients recover more rapidly after major surgery.

“I am proud to work at UHNM in a team of surgeons that can offer cutting edge care for patients in Staffordshire, Shropshire and beyond.”

A ​Stafford grandmother who received a life-saving operation for a massive hiatus hernia at University Hospitals of North Midlands is to feature in the final episode of 999:Critical Condition on Channel 5 at 9pm on Wednesday 26 July.

Margaret Hale, 73, underwent keyhole surgery to repair the huge hernia which allowed most of her stomach to move upwards into her chest - twisting and threatening its blood supply.

In the episode, Consultant in Upper Gastrointestinal and Oesophagogastric Surgery Mr Oliver Priest, explains that if he doesn’t repair the damage and bring Margaret’s stomach down into the correct position, large portions of her stomach will die, releasing food out into her chest which could have dire consequences.

Today Margaret said: “In a nutshell I began to get severe pain every time I ate and began deteriorating to the point when I was struggling to eat a whole meal. I just felt full very quickly.”

She added: “Before retiring 10 years ago, I was a medical secretary for gastroenterology and therefore I was familiar with the terminology and asked to see my scans. When I saw them I thought they were upside down because of where my stomach actually was!”

Margaret, who is married to Jim and between them have three children and two grandchildren, was an inpatient at Royal Stoke for four days before being discharged back home.

“It has been an interesting experience and the care was really good. Immediately after the operation I felt like I had been hit by a sledge hammer but the pain control and everyone post-op were fantastic. The most difficult thing has been getting back to eating and thinking about food because I just haven’t had any interest,” Margaret said.

She added: “The best is that I feel well and can eat anything. I am back singing with Stafford Choral, keeping fit and playing tennis.”

Royal Stoke University Hospital has been the sole focus of documentary 999 :Critical Condition, which takes an up-close, immersive look at the critical moments when patients in a life-threatening condition come through the hospital's doors.

The gripping series has been filmed by providing extraordinary access to the hospital's Major Trauma Centre and other specialist emergency departments to film makers Brinkworth Productions for the last five years.

Also in the final episode on, Michael is rushed into resus with a significant laceration to his head. Having plummeted 15 feet onto concrete, his head has taken the full impact of the fall and causing a substantial wound which is bleeding out.

38-year-old Nathan has suffered a number of life-threatening fits after a potential blackout in falling downstairs. Trauma Team Leader Hari Mandava, is worried that his patient has suffered a life-threatening bleed in his brain.

And Gareth is rushed in after being run-over by his own van, which has crushed his leg - causing potentially life-changing damage.