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BBC2's Hospital shows NHS in crisis as doctors forced to choose whether to save cancer patient or OAP bleeding to death

Mirror logo Mirror 12/01/2017 Natalie Evans

Credits: BBC

Credits: BBC
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

BBC2 viewers were left heartbroken and even traumatised following a harrowing first episode of its new documentary, Hospital.

The six-part series shines a light on the NHS in crisis, showing the life or death dilemmas faced by medical staff every day.

Wednesday night's programme followed the story of two patients both needing lifesaving surgery at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

An elderly woman named Janice was shown being rushed to the hospital after suffering from a ruptured blood vessel.

At the same time, cancer patient Simon, is seen prepped and waiting for surgery to remove a tumour from his oesophagus.

Both need to be in the intensive care ward - but, while there are enough surgeons to perform both operations, there is only one bed remaining.

The dilemma proved too much for some viewers - if Janice wasn't operated on as soon as she arrived at St Mary’s, she would bleed to death.

Meanwhile, Simon has already had his lifesaving operation cancelled once before.

The documentary shows the heartbreaking decision doctors are forced to make - whose life to save.

Simon is told that, if Janice survives the ambulance ride, she will take the remaining space in the operating theatre.

If she dies en route, Simon's operation will go ahead.

The 67-year-old cancer patient is asked how that makes him feel.

Fighting back tears, he answers just two words: "Guilty, actually."

Credits: BBC

Credits: BBC
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

Senior staff member, Lesley Powls, site director at St Mary’s describes her job as an “air traffic controller".

She says her role - ensuring beds, doctors and patients are all in the right place at any one time - is like the game Jenga.

"The tower has never yet come crashing down and my job is to stop that happening. But life here is sometimes a little bit wobbly," she says.

In this case, the blocks fall against Simon, whose surgery is postponed for a second time.

Viewers are in for a further tragic revelation.

Although Simon did actually get his operation, a day later, he died six weeks later after contracting a blood and immune disorder known as HLH.

One emotional viewer said: "Sitting here in tears at #thehospital"

Following the shock decision from staff, another added: "No. That broke my heart. RIP Simon. That's devastating, thoughts with his wife #thehospital"

Hospital sparked a huge reaction from viewers.

The six-part series captures the day-to-day realities that face the NHS in unprecedented times.

With an ever-increasing demand on its various services, the programme shows the real-life dilemmas and tough decisions that hospital staff and patients alike have to endure.

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