TV documentary features world-beating surgery at Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s

PUBLISHED: 18:00 25 September 2020

Surgeons Andrew Carrothers and David Jenkins will appear in the ITV documentary.

Surgeons Andrew Carrothers and David Jenkins will appear in the ITV documentary.

©RYAN MCNAMARA 2020

World-beating surgery will be featured in an award-winning BBC documentary about the work of surgical teams at the Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s hospitals.

Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge is to feature in an ITV documentary.Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge is to feature in an ITV documentary.

Surgeons: At the Edge of Life will showcase some of the most advanced surgery being carried out anywhere in the world, with life-saving operations being filmed at each of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus-based hospitals.

Work of the hospitals’ world class surgical teams will feature in the forthcoming documentary which will be broadcast across four programmes on BBC Two every Tuesday during October.

Series three of Surgeons: At the Edge of Life was filmed at Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s during 2019 and early 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Each hour-long episode will feature two operations, one from each hospital, highlighting some of the most advanced and complex surgery carried out anywhere in the world.

The Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge will feature in an ITV documentary.The Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge will feature in an ITV documentary.

David Jenkins, divisional director for surgery and transplant at the Royal Papworth said: “We are thrilled that the outstanding work of our staff is to be broadcast on the BBC. We carry out complex heart and lung operations every day, with some of the best outcomes internationally and it is a great opportunity to show the public what we can achieve.

“We are very grateful to the patients who took part in this filming for sharing their experiences at such a critical time in their lives.”

James Wheeler, divisional director for surgery and a colorectal surgeon at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am incredibly proud of the work undertaken by all our theatre staff here at Addenbrooke’s.

“The amazing operations highlighted in this series, which push the boundaries of medical possibilities, can only be achieved with a true team effort.”

He said: “A heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes to our brave patients and their families for allowing in the cameras. We hope it brings hope to patients in similar circumstances, and inspires others thinking of entering this field.”

Footage was shot from fixed rigs within operating theatres in order not to distract the operating teams with shots including close-ups of surgeons, anaesthetists and other members of the teams at work during the most critical moments during the operations.

The procedures filmed in the series include a life-saving double lung transplant, cutting-edge neurosurgery and an 18-hour chest wall reconstruction involving teams from both NHS trusts. The operations featured include an innovative pelvis and hip operation at Addenbrooke’s, which pushed the boundaries of medical science, and a pulmonary endarterectomy (PTE) at Royal Papworth, which is the only hospital in the UK to offer this technically demanding and extraordinary lung surgery.

Interviews with staff and patients reveal fascinating insights into the ground-breaking work.

The first episode of Surgeons: At the Edge of Life is on BBC Two on Tuesday, October 6, starting 9pm.


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