Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s hospitals to feature in BBC series

The life-saving work of two Cambridge hospitals is being featured in a documentary series.

Operations at Royal Papworth Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital will be broadcast across four programmes in October on BBC Two. The series, Surgeons: At the Edge of Life , was filmed during 2019 and early 2020, before Covid-19.

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

The procedures filmed in the series include a life-saving double lung transplant, neurosurgery and an 18-hour chest wall reconstruction involving teams from both hospitals, with staff and patients also interviewed.

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David Jenkins, divisional director for surgery and transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital, 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.”

Footage was shot from fixed rigs within operating theatres to not distract the operating teams.

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

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

“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.”

The first episode airs on October 6 and features an “innovative” pelvis and hip operation that “pushes the boundaries of medical science” at Addenbrooke’s, and a pulmonary endarterectomy at Royal Papworth, which is the only UK hospital to offer this demanding lung surgery.

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