15 Jan 2014

An Hour to Save Your Life: Brand new three-part series for BBC TWO

The moment an emergency call is made, a clock starts ticking. The expert medical attention a patient receives in this first hour is critical and could mean the difference between life or death.

In a new science series for BBC TWO, An Hour To Save Your Life, produced in partnership with The Open University, explores in forensic detail the dilemmas and innovations at the frontline of emergency medicine. Following specialist clinicians as they respond to the most critical of cases, the series offers a unique insight into the minute-by-minute decisions that are made in the fight for life.

Over recent years there has been a revolution in the way frontline medical staff respond to the most extreme medical emergencies. Where once an ambulance took a patient to the nearest hospital, now the fight to save lives begins at the scene, with advanced trauma and emergency medicine doctors and critical care ambulance staff undertaking complex procedures previously performed only in hospitals. The quicker they can act, the higher the chances of survival. New drugs, new procedures and new protocols mean doctors and paramedics have an expanded armoury in the fight against time.

From the first seconds and minutes of emergency response, this series gains an extraordinary insight into the minds of the clinicians – from the decisions made by the doctors and ambulance staff who treat the most seriously ill at the scene; through to the doctors and surgeons in the specialist trauma centres whose judgments against the clock could save a life. With this unique 360 degree access, together with candid and detailed testimony from the specialist medics themselves, An Hour To Save Your Life explores the dilemmas and innovations of emergency care in a way not previously seen on television.

Leading centres involved in filming the series include Barts Health NHS Trust, University Hospitals, Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, London’s Air Ambulance, Midland’s Air Ambulance, The Air Ambulance Service, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, London Ambulance Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Each episode follows the responses to three very different medical emergencies. Viewers see the extraordinary drama unfold as critically ill patients are treated with revolutionary new procedures. From emergency medicine doctors performing a state of the art brain cooling treatment at the roadside for a patient suffering a cardiac arrest; a trauma team treating a motorcyclist suffering a major haemorrhage by performing a reboa (Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta) a ground breaking procedure rarely performed; to stroke specialists who have a small window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic brain damage by using clot busting drug thrombolysis, on a patient suffering a stroke; An Hour To Save Your Life captures it all.

Managing Director of Boundless Patrick Holland said: “An Hour To Save Your Life highlights the very fragile line between life and death. For the very first time, viewers will see the chain of care put in place by the elite response units, showing in crystal clear detail how the action taken during the first 60 minutes of serious injury can alter the outcome of a patient’s life so dramatically. Our team is privileged to have witnessed first-hand the pioneering work administered to patients with life threatening injuries every single day.”

Commissioning Editor Tom McDonald said: “I’m really excited that Boundless has brought such forensic detail and fresh insight to the medical documentary genre. By looking at each individual case from a second-by-second perspective, BBC TWO viewers will understand frontline emergency care in an entirely new way. There’s extraordinary science innovation in the field of emergency medicine and we’re honoured to have had such privileged access to the pioneering teams on the frontline”.

An Hour To Save Your Life is a 3x60 minute Boundless production for BBC TWO, produced in Partnership with The Open University, who will be producing a free booklet called ‘Trauma and Emergency Care’ to accompany the series. Commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw, BBC Head of Commissioning for Natural History and Science. Commissioning Editor for BBC TWO is Tom McDonald. Creative Director is Patrick Holland and Executive Producer is Fiona Caldwell for Boundless, with Dov Freedman as Series Producer.

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