Trauma: Programme 2

Trauma: Programme 2

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Belfast, Royal Victoria Hospital




Transmission 04/08/1983


38min 05sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Channel 4, Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Channel 4, ITV

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


Footage may cause distress.

The new techniques and equipment which the the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, are using to treat patients. This episode follows the journey of road traffic accident victim, Fred Whitcroft, and his path to recovery. 

With opening scenes of Fred's destroyed car, he was brought to the Royal with severe head injuries and established "his life support" such as blood pressure etc. Dermot Brynes (consultant neurosurgeon) and John Gray (neurosurgical registrar) discuss his condition and have two immediate decisions to make "one does he need a CT scan.... second decision is whether we should put him down so to speak... paralysis and ventilate him" - the decision was yes for both. 

After the CT scan Brynes determines that "we are so far satisfied with his condition" and on day 8 takes him off life support. However, a spanner is thrown in the works and additional scans are made. Eventually, with the assistance of nurses and Ruth Thompson, his physiotherapist, Fred makes a full recovery and is able to go home.


Trauma is defined as the “morbid condition of the body caused by would or external violence” - Concise Oxford Dictionary 

Shot List

[00:02:10] Ambulance arriving at Royal Victoria Hospital, patient being removed from back. [00:02:38] Profile on FW Whitcroft [FW], a 48 year old pharmacist, who received head injuries in a car accident and was unconscious for eight days. [00:02:46] View of FW’s destroyed car. [00:02:56] FW found to have severe head injury, and transferred to neurosurgical unit at RVH. [00:03:04] Doctors and nurses examining FW and discussing his condition. [00:03:50] Dermot Byrnes [DB], consultant neurosurgeon, describing FW’s condition and the plans for his treatment. [00:04:10] FW being placed on life support. [00:06:17] John Gray [JG], neurosurgical registrar, discussing FW’s vital signs, assessment of injuries to his brain. Doctors and nurses working on FW, discussing his condition. [00:10:41] FW going in for CT scan, viewing results. [00:18:06] DB discussing examinations and the charts the doctors use to monitor FW’s condition. [00:21:43] Part 2. [00:22:13] Surgeons take FW off life support. [00:24:29] JG discussing removal of intracranial catheter. [00:26:34] Doctors testing FW’s ability to move his fingers and toes. FW awake and able to speak. [00:27:53] Dr Dennis Coppel [DC], consultant anaesthetist ICU, talking to FW for first time, questioning FW to test his memories, testing his motor movements and skills. [00:32:11] FW trying to take steps again for the first time, being assisted by nurses; moved to neurosurgical ward. [00:33:24] DB giving update on FW’s condition after 16 days, being examined. DB meeting with FW’s team of nurses, physiotherapists, and other carers to discuss his progress. [00:35:11] Ruth Thompson, physiotherapist, discussing FW’s strength and control. Sister Heather Fyffe discussing FW’s condition. Jill Erwin [JE], occupational therapist, discussing FW’s ability to eat. [00:36:00] FW able to walk around, dressing, and doing more physically and psychologically demanding activities to help him get better. [00:36:29] Jill Erwin giving FW tasks similar to his job as a pharmacist to note how he is improving and able to cope with his normal life. [00:38:38] Dr Byrnes discussing FW’s ability to go home the next day. Byrnes discussing different difficulties that patients with severe head injuries have, and the factors that determine their outcome. [00:00:00] FW being picked up by his family and being taken home. [00:42:36] Introduction to next programme: 58 year old teacher who tried to push start his car, and got crushed between the car and lamp post, and an elderly man who fell and cut his head, and was subsequently diagnosed with tetanus. 


A UTV Production for Channel Four.  

Written and narrated by Jon Lander

Produced and directed by Alan Hailes

Film Sound: Jim McGirr



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