Lights, camera... surgery!
Three complex operations will be performed live on camera for TV…
fly-on-the wall hospital series are nothing new, but this week Channel 5 is doing something truly cuttingedge by broadcasting three operations – live!
The channel has been given special access to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Royal London Hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust, and will screen three life-changing procedures as they are carried out: a heart operation, total knee replacement and removal of a bowel tumour.
Performing the open-heart surgery will be Kulvinder Lall, 52, one of the UK’s leading cardiac surgeons and the clinical lead at Barts Heart Centre. He has done more than 7,000 heart surgeries in his 29-year career. During the two-hour procedure, he will replace an aortic valve on a man in his 60s.
‘It is a very complex operation but quite a common one,’ says Kulvinder. ‘And without medical intervention, the patient would probably die of heart failure.’
Although the surgeon has carried out surgeries in front of nearly 500 of his peers at medical conferences, a TV audience will be a first.
‘I’ll try to forget about that and get on with the job at hand!’ says Kulvinder.
‘But it’s good to show a patient’s experience, from when they’re symptomatic to hopefully when they’re relieved of the symptoms. It is also a good way of showcasing one of the flagship hospitals in the NHS. And the patient jumped at the chance!’
Kulvinder has personal reasons for wanting to be a heart surgeon.
‘A couple of uncles of mine succumbed to complications of heart disease,’ he explains. ‘That was my drive to get to medical school.’
Steady hand… Heart surgeon Kulvinder Lall