Episode 2 Bizarre ER


Episode 2

Documentary series about eye-watering medical cases in A&E, including a couple who nearly died from bubonic plague and an enthusiast whose hand was shredded by his model plane.


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Transcript


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# Emergency! #

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With mind boggling medical mishaps...

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Ow!

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..and the quirkiest of casualties.

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My boyfriend dropped a turnip on my foot.

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Bizarre ER is back.

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# So come on. #

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And for the first time we've camped out in, not one, but two British hospitals...

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Northampton General and Bradford Royal Infirmary.

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Hello.

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To bring you the curious cases that are all in a day's work for the stoic staff.

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Can you see your pound coin there.

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But which have to be seen to be believed.

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Plus we've scoured the planet for the people who, thanks to amazing medics,

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have survived the most extraordinary accidents and emergencies known to man.

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Nobody believes they're going to get the Black Death.

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So scrub up, sit back and enjoy the sometimes silly,

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often odd, but never dull world of Bizarre ER.

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Well, all I can say is thank heavens for the NHS.

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Thank you.

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Coming up tonight...

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we meet the lady with lips like lilos.

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I'll just grow a hump and a club foot and just call me Igor. Ha-ha.

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One man's high flying hobby nearly cost him his hand.

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Whoa. OK.

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And a medieval menace makes a comeback in modern day Manhattan.

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I just could not believe that we had the Plague.

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But first we're heading to Northampton General

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where slack-jawed student Holly Thompson

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has arrived at A&E completely unable to close her gaping gob.

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As Holly can't really talk right now, probably best we tell you how she got here.

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Holly was at college enjoying a particularly riveting lesson of Government and Politics.

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Uninspired by the political ponderings, Holly opened wide for a yawn.

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Her massive mouth manoeuvre caused her jaw to dislocate,

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leaving her unable to close her cakehole.

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Literally speechless, Holly frantically nudged her classmate.

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Try as she might she couldn't help Holly shut her mouth

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and the pair had no choice but to interrupt the lesson.

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Hello.

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After a quick visit to the school nurse,

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who also failed to help our heroine,

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it was decided that Holly and her jangling jaw should head to A&E.

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My name's Ejiro, I'm one of the doctors.

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Obviously I can see your mouth's stuck open.

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Has it happened to you before?

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No...

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SHE MUMBLES

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Sorry.

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She said, "ahahaha ahahaha."

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-So it has happened before.

-Yeah. Kind of, but not like this.

-OK.

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Holly's floppy chops might look funny but they're no laughing matter.

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It can be quite serious because you can't eat, you can't really drink

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and you get dehydrated, but again it's quite painful as well.

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Fortunately, Dr Ejiro has a plan

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that draws on the latest cutting edge technology.

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She's going to stuff Holly's mouth with small splints that look a bit like lolly sticks.

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It might seem bizarre but there's method in her madness.

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I don't want it to hurt.

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By keeping Holly's mouth wedged open with wood

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the jaw muscles will get tired, unlock and allow the doctor to click her laughing gear back into place.

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INDISTINCT

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-Feel's fine?

-Uh-uh.

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Feels funny? Yeah, it usually does...

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Actually, I can get one more in...

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Stay like that.

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That's a jaw dropping 26 little lolly sticks holding Holly's mouth open.

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All Holly has to do now is wait for the wooden sticks to work their magic.

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# Cos they're tired of, tired of hanging around

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# Yes, they're tired of, tired of hanging around

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# Yes, they're tired of tired of... #

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Time to see if jamming Holly full of lollies has done the job.

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There's only two rules for this...

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One is that you relax and two is that you don't bite me...that's it.

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As Dr Ejiro manoeuvres the mouth, there's a chance Holly's gnashers will clamp down hard on her hand.

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Relax, close your mouth.

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That's it, bite down. Finished.

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The doctor's digits are safe and Holly's jaw is back where it should be.

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-Was it painful?

-No, it just aches a bit.

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It will do because it's been out of joint for a little while.

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I would avoid yawning too wide and anything like that because it's a bit unstable at the moment.

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Now that Holly can close her cakehole, it's time to head home

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and she's even got a souvenir of splints for the mantle.

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Honestly, the things people will do to get out of double politics.

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One of modern medicine's most perplexing mysteries is the yawn.

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The average person will yawn a quarter of a million times

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in their life, but no-one really knows why.

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What we do know is that yawning and stretching at the same time

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is known as pandiculation.

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If you're yawning while watching this

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it's because yawning is contagious.

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We yawn in the womb as early as 11 weeks...

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no surprise given the number of limited activities available to a foetus.

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But that assumes yawning is caused by boredom, which may not be true.

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Whilst some believe we yawn to stretch our lungs and make us

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more alert, others think it's all about cooling down the brain.

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Another theory is that yawning has a social function,

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as its contagiousness helps communities to synchronise their sleep patterns.

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Others think that yawning is an aggressive signal as observed in both baboons and goldfish.

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Believe it or not some people also yawn when sexually aroused.

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So next time your dinner date opens wide and lets out a groan,

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bear in mind that you might be making them stiff

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rather than boring them stiff.

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Next we're heading to Bradford where theatre nurse Carole Brown

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is proving that even the staff sometimes fall victim to an extraordinary emergency.

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She's been sent down from surgery with a very peculiar protrusion.

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Nurse Yasser Arafat (yes, really),

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has the job of assessing Carole's colossal kisser.

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-What's happened then?

-I woke up this morning, but it was only in this corner,

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just slightly swollen, it's got bigger as the morning's progressed.

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-You'd no swelling there last night?

-No, but last night I had a slight nick in the corner of my lip

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and I went into a bit of a cleaning frenzy at home last night and I was using disinfectants,

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so whether I've got something on my hands and I've touched my lip. That's all I can think of.

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I'm growing a beak. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

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Luckily Yasser has a tried and tested method for curing bizarre beaks.

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I think we'll give you an injection in your bottom lip to match it up, then you can go home!

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Yeah, right! I'll look like Mick Jagger then.

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Nip you with a bit of cleaner, once it's swollen up you can go home!

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Despite the banter Yasser has a genuine concern.

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Carol's trout pout is still growing and allergies can be deadly serious.

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Yasser sends our lippy lady off to see Associate Specialist Dr Akhtar.

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There are two types of reaction.

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One is a localised allergic reaction but there's another type called anaphylactic reaction,

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which is a generalised vaccine which is potentially a fatal reaction.

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Dr Akhtar gives Carole a thorough check up.

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He measures her heart rate,

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listens to her breathing for any signs of spasms in the airway,

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and finally checks for any swelling that might obstruct her throat.

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-The good news is it's not an anaphylactic reaction.

-Right.

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The most important thing is we need to stop it getting worse

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-and make sure it doesn't impinge on the airways.

-OK.

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Carole's handed a stack of steroids to push past her pout in the hope they'll reduce the swelling

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before baring her bum for a bumper injection of antihistamine

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to combat the allergic reaction.

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Wow, that stings. Aarrgh.

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Then it's just a waiting game to see how Carole reacts to the treatment.

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Dear, dear.

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Two hours later the supersize smackers haven't subsided

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and Carole's considering a new career.

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I'll just grow a hump and a club foot and just call me Igor. Ha-ha.

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Dr Akhtar's back to see Igor - sorry, Carole,

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although her massive mush shows no sign of deflating he's happy that her health's not at risk.

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There's no sign of the airways being compromised, so I think it's safe for you to go home.

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If at any stage you feel shortness of breath at all, please come back to us immediately.

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-Thanks very much.

-OK, bye-bye.

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Carole puckers up and heads home, where we hope she'll be steering clear of the cleaning products.

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Bye!

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Two weeks later and Carole's back where she belongs,

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scrubbing up in the operating theatre.

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But is that mask still hiding extra large lips?

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Back to normal...yay.

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Every hobby comes with its hazards, but you don't expect to forsake your fingers for your favourite pastime.

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Unfortunately that's just what's happened to Don Smith.

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Don's arrived at Northampton General A&E

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with one of the goriest injuries in Bizarre ER's history.

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Whoa. OK.

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If you're at all squeamish, look away now!

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Model plane enthusiast Don was on an afternoon out

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with his latest flying machine.

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With a 60cc motor and 16 inch steel propellers,

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his new not-so-dinky dive bomber was more powerful

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and potentially devastating than your average chainsaw.

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Right, chocks away.

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Don fired her up with a sharp tug on the hand held pull chord

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but the rotating rotor sucked up the string

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pulling Don's hand into the spinning blades

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and pulverising his paw.

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With blood spurting from an artery and his mitt an almighty mess,

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Don couldn't tell he was missing a digit.

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-At least I'm not missing a digit.

-He wrapped his hand in a towel,

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made an emergency landing in A&E and left his poor little pinkie behind.

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Don't leave me!

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It's hurting quite a lot now and it don't look very good.

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The doctor gives Don a local anaesthetic,

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and although the jabs are clearly painful,

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our incredibly brave patient takes it all in his stride.

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Sorry. Sorry.

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After no less than ten excruciating injections

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and with his wound now dressed,

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Don's family is on hand with some words of sympathy and support.

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Can't you take up something less hassle, like?

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Like knitting.

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The jokes might be keeping Don's spirits up,

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but they're not doing much for his mangled mitt which needs urgent specialist care.

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Unfortunately the plastic surgeon's at Northampton are unavailable.

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The medical team have no option but to rush Don to the nearest hospital that does have surgeons on hand.

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-We're going to move you to Leicester.

-Are you?

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Every second counts in the dash to save Don's digits

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and he's quickly whisked away to Leicester Royal Infirmary,

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where a crack team of surgeons are on standby.

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Join us later in the show when we find out if medics can save what's left of Don's fingers.

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This series we've gone global to bring you the most bizarre accidents and emergencies on the planet.

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On a break to the Big Apple, one couple's dream holiday

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turned into a living nightmare when they contracted a deadly disease

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that you might think had been consigned to the history books...

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Black Death.

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I had never seen a case, nor seriously entertained the possibility of a case.

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I didn't think we were going to save this fellow. I thought he was doomed.

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Nobody really believes they're going to get the Black Death.

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Just after Hallowe'en 2002, married couple John Tull and Lucinda Marker

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were enjoying a juicy holiday in the Big Apple.

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We both love New York, we were out on the town having some drinks and martinis.

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Go to the theatre, go to museums.

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Eating in good restaurants. We were just having a blast.

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After just two days, they awoke feeling strangely under the weather.

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Totally exhausted. We had cramps, headaches, we were nauseated.

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They put their raised temperatures down to a touch of 'flu

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but then, resting in bed,

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they discovered strange lumps in their groins.

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There was a swelling, when I would get up to go the bathroom

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I was limping and it started to get more and more painful.

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The dream trip to New York was fast turning into a medieval nightmare.

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They limped into a taxi to visit top travel medicine specialist Dr Ronald Primas.

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He was shocked at John's terrible condition.

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He laid right here on the floor, couldn't even walk any more.

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His blood pressure was quite low, his pulse rate was very fast.

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I know our temperatures were very high.

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He was sweating profusely, he was beefy red.

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-Don was 105.

-His shirt was soaked.

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-Mine was 102 or 3.

-Lucinda was pretty flushed and red and very unwell.

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Doctors don't scare easily, but when he examined Lucinda,

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Dr Primas found something truly alarming.

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Usually lymph nodes are about that big.

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Her lymph node was about that big.

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Dr Primas had never seen anything like it, except in a medical text book.

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Lucinda had a classic plague bubo.

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If the bubo explodes and all this pus and gunk comes out,

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then it's highly contagious and can infect many, many people.

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In the 14th Century, Bubonic Plague wiped out millions,

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killing a third of the population of Europe.

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It became known as the Black Death.

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Plague doctors sealed themselves in 14th Century biohazard suits.

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The long nose stuffed with fragrant herbs,

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they tended the sick, the sick died.

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Actually the first thing I thought was, "are they contagious?"

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cos I don't want to get it.

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I just could not believe that we really had the plague.

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John and Lucinda sped off to hospital in a taxi, taking their killer germs on a tour of New York.

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John became disorientated and was declining fast.

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I was in the back seat of the cab, dying.

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Arriving at the hospital caused panic.

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We went into the desk and they went nuts...they went crazy.

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Blood samples were taken to look for the cause of all this medieval mayhem.

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The bacterium Yersinia pestis.

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It turns out they brought it with them.

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John and Lucinda live over 1,700 miles away from New York

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on this five acre ranch in rural New Mexico

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where they love to hike in the mountains.

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The weekend before we went on the trip, we climbed a 12,000 foot peak.

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The plague does survive here naturally on wood rats,

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so on their walk they must have been bitten by a tiny plague-carrying blood-sucking flea.

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At the Manhattan hospital this ancient disease met its modern enemy...

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antibiotics.

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I believe I was getting better the moment I started receiving the antibiotics.

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Bizarrely while Lucinda rallied, John continued his deathly downward spiral.

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He had organ failure of most of his organs

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and this easily could have killed him.

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Doctors had to take drastic action.

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They plunged John into an induced coma,

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slowing his body to a near stop to halt the spread of the disease.

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Despite this, John developed disseminated intravascular coagulation.

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Where clumps of cells block blood flow, causing skin, muscle and bone to die.

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His hands and feet turned purple.

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And this ran from his feet up his legs to his groin.

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Dr Perlman battled the infections with a complex cocktail of antibiotics.

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His hands regained their warmth and their normal colour

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and then their function, but his feet unfortunately did not.

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Plague was now joined by his old partner in death...

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gangrene.

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Gangrene is the death of cells and tissue from a lack of blood flow.

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John's feet became blackened and dead.

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When they talk about Black Death, that's what this is referring to.

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No longer able to fight infection John's feet were killing him.

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Could they be saved, or would vascular surgeon Dr Mike Soleyn have to amputate them?

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You didn't need a vascular surgeon to know that these feet were dead.

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I'm not even sure you needed a doctor.

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As Thanksgiving arrived doctors took the drastic decision to amputate John's feet.

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It's just chopped straight through both legs.

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Without the amputation he would have died.

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They didn't even truly think that that would save him,

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but they thought it was the one chance they had.

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The gamble paid off. Amputation plus medication saved John's life.

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He was still in a coma but his body was slowly starting to recover.

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All told, his medically induced deep sleep lasted three months.

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What happened to Thanksgiving?

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What happened to Christmas?

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What happened to New Year's Eve?

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How can it be January 15th?

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That really freaked me out.

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John may have lost his feet but he hasn't lost his zest for life.

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Many months of intense physiotherapy and hard work

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mean John has his life back.

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After a couple of years I could walk, I could drive,

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I could fly airplanes...

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I could do just about anything anybody else could do.

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I'm not happy that his feet didn't get better,

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but very happy that the rest of him did

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and that he's been able to resume a functional and happy life.

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We've survived one of the most terrifying diseases in the history of mankind.

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I would say things are going pretty well.

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I'm delighted with the outcome.

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I believe that I'm one of the luckiest men on earth.

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As for the plague,

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it too is alive and well. Out there somewhere...waiting...

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just patiently waiting.

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Catching plague might not be something we worry about today,

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but back in the Middle Ages it was one of many Medieval menaces

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that might finish you off.

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Alongside Black Death, Leprosy was rife

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although it didn't make your bits and bobs drop off

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it did however cause super scaley skin lesions

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before attacking your nervous system over 20 years,

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ultimately causing gangrene and death.

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And then there was ergotism,

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the olde worlde ailment that led to vomiting, gangrene,

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mania and hallucinations.

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It was caused by fungal poisoning of rye

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which possibly makes it history's most prolific cereal killer.

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A medieval medic was more likely to make you worse rather than better.

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The mentally ill was prescribed a date with Dr Drill,

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the theory being that boring holes in the skull

0:20:520:20:54

or trepanning as it was called,

0:20:540:20:56

would allow evil spirits to escape.

0:20:560:20:59

That's better.

0:20:590:21:00

And if the hole in your head didn't help,

0:21:000:21:02

doctors were just as keen on the hole in your bottom.

0:21:020:21:04

Pumping potions up patient's using instruments called clysters.

0:21:040:21:08

No wonder most people preferred the more bizarre

0:21:090:21:12

but often less painful remedies of the day.

0:21:120:21:15

A touch deaf? I said a touch deaf?

0:21:150:21:18

Then mix the gall of a hare with the grease of a fox

0:21:180:21:21

and drop it down your lughole.

0:21:210:21:24

And those of you with a touch of gout

0:21:240:21:26

should boil a red haired dog in oil, add worms, marrow and herbs,

0:21:260:21:31

leave to simmer for 20 minutes and then rub the mixture in.

0:21:310:21:35

It may not cure you but the scalding sensation

0:21:350:21:38

should certainly take your mind off the gout.

0:21:380:21:40

Earlier in the show we met model plane enthusiast Don,

0:21:440:21:48

who came to Northampton General A&E

0:21:480:21:50

after one of his mini machines made a hash of his hand.

0:21:500:21:55

Eager to make a good fist of the damaged digits,

0:21:550:21:57

medics referred Don to a specialist team at Leicester Royal Infirmary,

0:21:570:22:01

headed by micro surgeon Chris Milner who's received Don's notes

0:22:010:22:05

and is ready to welcome the patient on board.

0:22:050:22:08

-Mr Smith.

-How are you? Pleased to meet you.

0:22:080:22:10

I'm Chris Milner, one of the doctor in plastics here.

0:22:100:22:12

I want to have a quick look, see what we're dealing with.

0:22:120:22:15

-I don't know what's necessarily under there.

-It's not very nice.

0:22:150:22:18

Can you cross these two fingers for good luck?

0:22:190:22:22

Excellent, all right, that's really good. Relax.

0:22:220:22:25

And as if Don's day hasn't gone badly enough there's more gruelling news just in.

0:22:250:22:30

Instead of putting me to sleep they're going to put injections into my arms to make it dead

0:22:300:22:36

and then I'll be awake while it's being done.

0:22:360:22:39

Using ultrasound, the anaesthetist locates the nerves she needs to numb Don's arm,

0:22:390:22:44

and having already endured ten injections today,

0:22:440:22:48

Don's skewered with yet another needle.

0:22:480:22:50

While the following operation is an incredible sight, it's also pretty gruesome,

0:22:530:22:57

so this could be the moment for squeamish viewers to nip out for a chocolate finger.

0:22:570:23:01

Mr Milner begins by poking around in the palm slashed open by high speed propellers.

0:23:040:23:09

The task of stitching up these three nasty slashes is so devilishly detailed

0:23:110:23:16

that Mr Milner needs to wear special specs that magnify his vision

0:23:160:23:21

by three ½ times to mend muscle, nerve and tendon.

0:23:210:23:24

So we've got some forceps here. Their tips are very small,

0:23:270:23:31

and if you can make that out this is actually the thread that we use.

0:23:310:23:34

It's about the thickness of a human hair. You're quite lucky, actually,

0:23:340:23:38

the blades haven't gone down so deep as to cut the nerves.

0:23:380:23:42

With the palm patched up, attention turns to the decimated digits.

0:23:420:23:46

Mr Milner begins with the little finger.

0:23:460:23:50

Tidying the tendon and burning nerve endings.

0:23:500:23:53

If you don't do that,

0:23:530:23:54

then at this point of the tip of the amputated stump,

0:23:540:23:57

it will be extremely sensitive and tender.

0:23:570:24:00

As most of the finger is missing, all the surgeon can do

0:24:000:24:04

is sew the skin together to form a little stump.

0:24:040:24:07

And don't forget, throughout all this Don's still wide awake and even finding time to have a natter.

0:24:080:24:14

That one's just got a cut there and a cut there,

0:24:140:24:16

so that's just going to be a bit of suturing there.

0:24:160:24:19

While Don charms the staff,

0:24:190:24:21

Mr Milner moves on to repairing the ring finger.

0:24:210:24:23

He can't fix it fully and so first chops off the dangling tip.

0:24:230:24:27

I'm happy in my work,

0:24:270:24:29

very happy in my work.

0:24:290:24:30

To ensure Don has a neat round stump,

0:24:300:24:33

the bone needs to be clipped back before stitching can begin

0:24:330:24:37

and the tool used has a fittingly gruesome name...

0:24:370:24:40

it's a bone nibbler.

0:24:400:24:42

While surgeons nibble at his knuckles,

0:24:470:24:50

Don's still single handedly working the room.

0:24:500:24:52

With the ring finger all sewn up,

0:24:530:24:55

Mr Milner moves to the middle digit which has got off lightly.

0:24:550:24:59

After a quick clean and a stitch, it's on to the final finger.

0:24:590:25:04

The gnarled up nail's removed,

0:25:040:25:06

a silicon splint put in place and Mr Milner's work is done.

0:25:060:25:11

All that's left is for Don to get a look at the surgeon's truly remarkable handiwork.

0:25:110:25:16

Now then, these are the cuts in your hand

0:25:160:25:19

so they've all been cleaned and closed with stitches.

0:25:190:25:23

This is your little finger, this is your ring, you've got good function here...

0:25:230:25:27

that finger's just had the pulp closed on the surface

0:25:270:25:31

and you've got a nail bed repair on this finger.

0:25:310:25:34

Your thumb's gloriously untouched, and that's it.

0:25:340:25:38

It's a resounding thumbs up from Don.

0:25:380:25:42

-Thank you very much, everybody.

-See you later.

0:25:420:25:45

Good job done in a short time

0:25:450:25:47

and it feels good

0:25:470:25:49

and my finger's are straight, although there's a few missing...

0:25:490:25:54

it's OK.

0:25:540:25:56

# Put your hands up Put your hands up. #

0:25:560:26:01

It's two week's later and Don's checking in to his local doctor's surgery

0:26:030:26:07

where he'll find out how his hand is healing and have his stitches removed.

0:26:070:26:12

Practice nurse Emily Long undresses Don so he can get a good look at his healing hand.

0:26:120:26:18

Not looking too bad at all is it.

0:26:180:26:20

No. It feels really strange, like.

0:26:200:26:23

With the hand still swollen, removing this many stitches

0:26:250:26:29

is tricky and painful but our plucky pilot remains brave as ever.

0:26:290:26:33

It's really tender, that is.

0:26:350:26:37

Don seems to be getting to grips with his new condition,

0:26:370:26:41

as well as a new set of nicknames.

0:26:410:26:43

Most people who know me now call me fingers...

0:26:430:26:47

I expect to have a few names, I suppose, called now,

0:26:470:26:50

like idiot.

0:26:500:26:52

After a half hour of painstaking plucking all the stitches are out.

0:26:530:26:57

That's it, all finished.

0:26:570:27:00

Has Don's unfortunate run in with a rotor put him off his precious planes?

0:27:000:27:04

I suppose I should be in a little bit of difficulty

0:27:040:27:08

trying to hold the transmitter which is what flies the airplane, but I'll get used to it.

0:27:080:27:14

I'll work my way round it somehow.

0:27:140:27:16

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:27:160:27:19

Come again if I get a kiss.

0:27:190:27:21

Don's cleared for take off and he's winging his way home...

0:27:210:27:26

just keep those paws away from the propellers in future, eh, Don.

0:27:260:27:29

Next time on Bizarre ER, medics reel in a curious catch of the day.

0:27:350:27:41

An eye popping injury arrives in casualty.

0:27:420:27:45

This is just so bizarre, really.

0:27:450:27:48

And we head down under for the amazing story of how one woman

0:27:480:27:52

was nearly crushed to death by a leaping dolphin.

0:27:520:27:55

If I didn't do the right thing, she would die.

0:27:550:27:59

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:090:28:12

E-mail [email protected]

0:28:120:28:15

Sheridan Smith narrates a series which follows the most extraordinary and fascinating A&E cases from two British hospitals, and recounts amazing tales of medical survival from around the world.

Featuring the American couple who nearly died from bubonic plague on a holiday to New York; a student who was struck dumb after she yawned so wide that she dislocated her jaw; and a model plane enthusiast whose hand was shredded by the propellers on one of his mini flying machines.

Plus, a staff member ends up with a super-sized pout after a bizarre allergic reaction.


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