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With mind-boggling medical mishaps
and the quirkiest of casualties...
My boyfriend dropped a turnip on my foot.
This is Bizarre ER.
And for the first time we've camped out in not one but two British hospitals -
Northampton General and Bradford Royal Infirmary.
PHONE RINGS Hello.
To bring you the curious cases that are all in a day's work for the stoic staff...
-Can you see your pound coin there?
-'..but which have to be seen to be believed'
Plus we've scoured the planet for the people who, thanks to amazing medics,
have survived the most extraordinary accidents and emergencies known to man.
Nobody believes they are going to get the Black Death.
So scrub up, sit back and enjoy the sometimes silly, often odd,
but never dull world of Bizarre ER.
All I can say is thank heavens for the NHS.
Coming up tonight - a trip to the pub leaves one punter bent out of shape,
a supersize splinter proves a real headache...
God, it's huge.
..and we find out how doctors use state-of-the-art techniques to put one man's face back together
when a freaky forest accident shattered his skull to pieces.
It was really incredible to think that he was still alive.
But first, we're heading to Northampton General where three-year-old Elliot
has arrived at A&E with dad James, stepbrother Jack and his favourite bathtime buddy Scuba Steve.
Dad often has trouble separating Steve and Elliot but tonight it's proving especially tricky.
My little boy's got a toy stuck on his finger.
We've tried absolutely everything to try and get it off - ice,
butter, even hitting it with a hammer
and it just won't budge. And now it hurts that much he won't even let us touch it.
It's his favourite bath toy so we're not allowed to break it.
Although they look like they make a cute couple this is potentially a dangerous duo.
Scuba Steve is cutting off the blood flow which could,
in the worst case, spell serious trouble for Elliot's dinky digit.
-I don't want it pulled off.
-You don't want it pulled off, do we.
-You like Scuba Steve.
To make sure Elliot and Scuba don't experience a painful parting
staff need to numb the finger before they attempt to pull Steve off.
Rather than scare the poor wee mite with a nasty needle,
they opt for some anaesthetic gel which will also lubricate the area and hopefully help Scuba slip off.
See if you can twist it cos that's what the man's going to do in a minute.
The doctor's going to give it a twist.
While the nurses wait for the gel to take effect, Dad makes a final plea to Elliot to help himself.
Go on, you give it a pull, then. Show them how strong you are.
-Don't want to.
-So what, you're going to
let it sit on your finger forever?
Elliot's having none of it so it will be down to nurse Phil
to tug the toy loose with the minimum amount of pain and fuss.
-Stop it, stop it.
In a matter of seconds, Scuba Steve is free but Elliot's not happy.
And it looks like he's got a single-digit message for the assembled staff.
To make sure Scuba Steve hasn't caused any lasting damage Elliot's sent for an X-ray.
-Can you see your finger? You see that?
That's your finger and the good thing is all those bones look normal.
With the helping hand from the team at Northampton, Elliot's escaped a far worse fate.
If it had been on any...much longer,
I think he would have ended up going to theatre to get it removed.
And despite all the tears before bedtime,
there are no hard feelings between Elliot and his little plastic pal.
-Where is he?
In my pocket.
Shall we have a look at him now?
That's little Scuba Steve but no fingers in him though, do we?
-Cos if we get stuck we have to come back again.
As with most hospitals, Bradford Royal Infirmary gets its fair share
of alcohol-related accidents, just like our next case.
-Did you feel dizzy or anything prior to the fall?
But Gerry Clarke didn't even make it to the pub before ending up with this bizarre bender.
He just tripped
on the crossing and then we picked him up
and his finger was in a very peculiar position.
Would have helped if it had happened when I was coming from the pub - I wouldn't have felt it.
We'll get you straight through as that needs pulling and it needs to go back into the joint.
There's more to Gerry's freaky finger than meets the eye.
Jilting his joint could have caused damage to the bones and the nerves in his digit
but before doctors can check out how severe the injury is, they have to pull his pointer into place.
What you need to do is you need to grip your teeth around it and suck as hard as you can.
Sister Brook administers a bit of pain relief from the hospital's regular barrel, nitrous oxide,
otherwise known as laughing gas.
There you go. It's working. All right?
Just put your head back.
But Gerry's laughter is soon cut short
when Dr Simon Alzer arrives to click the wonky finger back into place.
Just going to inject both sides, OK?
After a local anaesthetic to numb the pain it's time to put an end to Gerry's bender.
As long as I don't see him doing it.
-You'll feel it but you won't see it.
-Shut up, you.
Right I'm just gonna gently pull, OK?
This is the part I don't like.
That looks like it's back in nicely.
How is that feeling?
It wasn't as bad as I thought.
As I said...
Before doctors can let Gerry loose for some liquid refreshment
they need to do a quick but thorough check for damage to nerves and bones.
The joints are nicely in line so it looks like it was just a clear dislocation.
With the X-rays all clear Dr Alzer assesses the nerves.
-Make a fist for me.
-'Well, it doesn't look like David Hay needs to lose any sleep'
-'but it shows that Gerry's drinking hand is back in action.'
-Thank you very much.
Meaning that he and Stuart can finally continue their journey down the pub.
A cheeky half down the local might not seem bad for your health
but the boozer is home
to bizarre injuries by the barrel.
A staggering 42,000 accidents
happen in pubs, bars
and social clubs each year.
And you don't even have to step inside to do yourself damage.
In October 2010 a woman was taken to intensive care
when a hanging basket outside one bar fell on her head.
Or John McMaster sustained serious neck injuries
when he was levelled by a sun lounger that had blown off a nearby pub roof terrace.
And in 2003, Christopher Prosper from Reading went from hostelry
to hospital after he fell through
an open cellar trap door.
Inside the average alehouse, you'll find trauma on tap.
Most tavern tumbles are due to slips on wet surfaces,
though punters also come a cropper over carelessly placed coats and shopping bags.
and a poorly maintained bar stool rather than one too many sherries
can also send you reeling.
Last orders, anyone?
Sporting injuries are not unheard of, either.
Dave Farmer from Llandrindod Wells was showing off to his mates
when he jumped off a snooker table and well and truly potted the pink
by landing on his friend's upturned snooker cue,
piercing his stomach and scrotum.
Anaesthetised by the eight pints he'd sunk, Dave was more concerned
with finishing the game until pals persuaded him to head to A&E.
Best of three. Best of three!
It's enough to make you turn to drink.
Next we're heading to Northampton General A&E which is not exactly
where the Russo family hoped to find themselves
when they left the house all set for an enjoyable family day out.
The trip ended with a tumble for 13-year-old Kristian who's not only
cut and bruised but also has a stick stuck in the side of his head.
That's right - a stick in his head.
I actually only remembered hitting the floor and then I get up and I'm in pain...
it hurts so much.
Ow! I can't laugh.
On their day out at a local country park,
the family eschewed the usual sites in favour of a nearby quarry.
The kids were keen to explore
but Dad Vince insisted on testing the terrain first.
I insist on testing the terrain first.
And ventured gingerly down the steep gravel slope.
Eager to match Dad's bravado,
plucky Chris thought he'd make a run for it.
But as his momentum built,
the slippery slope got the better of him,
he tripped, flipped
and flew face first into a branch, impaling his head on a sharp twig.
One antler up, it was time for this young Bambi to hit the hospital.
Oh DEER, Kristian...
Get it? Get it?
It frightened me because he hit it with such force
and I had a look and that's when I noticed the branch...
well, the bit of stick in his head.
Doctors' first concern is the brain and Kris is sent straight to X-ray.
If the splinter has penetrated his skull he could be in serious danger of brain damage.
OK, that's it. Well done.
Dr Kunal Patel arrives with both good and bad news.
The X-ray isn't showing any penetration into the skull.
That's the good news.
But confident there is no damage to the skull, medics can now set about the painful process of extraction.
-Bit painful is it?
a bit sore as well.
-'After a local anaesthetic...'
-Oh-h-h, not again.
-'..Dr Patel starts his pruning.'
-Yay, there it is.
-Is it out?
But with a suspicious bulge on the skin, doctors twig there is still
a sliver of splinter lodged in Kris's scalp
and Registrar Dr Ejiro arrives to take on the tiny tree surgery.
# I just can't get you out of my head... #
# Your loving is all I think about... #
-# I just can't get you out of my head... #
Unable to uproot the stubborn splinter,
Dr Ejiro has no option but to slice open the scalp and dig for the twig.
Ahh...is it coming out?
Is it out? Let's have a look.
The wood chip is finally out and measures in at a whopping 5cm long.
God, it's huge.
The splinter might be out but Kris's crisis is not over yet.
The gaping gash has to be cleaned out to avoid infection before being sewn back together.
After a quick wash but alas no conditioner or head massage, Kris's crown is stitched up.
That was an interesting one... definitely. Bizarre, I suppose.
With Dr Ejiro's work done the family are free to head home.
Hopefully there won't be any more pain for me cos it kills.
Fun day out at Northampton General Hospital.
Maybe stick with the cinema for the next family outing, eh, guys?
Having a slash in your scalp might not be pleasant but our next patient
has come to Northampton General with a much more grisly gash.
Are you in a lot of pain?
Carpenter Martin Chew has arrived at A&E after accidentally taking a saw to his paw.
The cut is so disastrously deep that the only thing keeping
the dangling hand from dropping off is that bandage.
The hand will need supporting cos it flops.
All right... is it underneath or on top?
Any viewers of a sensitive disposition should look away now.
-Can you feel that? Does that feel normal?
-How does that one feel?
-Yeah, that's all right.
A&E Consultant Dr Holloway checks that Martin still has sensation in his hand.
-Feel that one?
-The tip of my little finger?
Yeah, I can feel that.
Which indicates that the nerves aren't damaged beyond repair.
Probably the only good news poor Martin will get all day.
What we're going to do is give that a really good wash out, OK?
We're going to put some salt water in there.
We all know that washing our hands is hygienic but in Martin's case it's vital...
with a wide open wound like this there's a massive risk of infection
which could lead to him losing his hand altogether.
Breathe on there. Breathe on your gas, breathe on your gas.
Breathe. Good man. Breathe.
Doctors make cleaning out the area a top priority using a sterile solution of saltwater or saline.
Medics make sure the gaping gash gets a thorough rinsing.
Talk about pouring salt in the wound.
We're putting some pads on with like an iodine solution because of infection
and we're just going to bandage it up, OK?
With a bit of help from the gas pump our unbelievably brave chippy remains chipper.
That's it. Keep using it.
The extent of Martin's injuries are plain to see
but an X-ray is needed to find out just how much damage has been done.
You can see the saw's gone all the way through the bones here
and the whole hand has sort of compressed down
and then all the skin on top of the bones has also been sawn through
which is where all the tendons lie
which is why he couldn't move his hand at all cos all the tendons had been disrupted.
It might not seem it, but Martin's been incredibly lucky.
If the saw had gone probably only a centimetre further,
he'd have actually chopped off the whole of his hand.
He needs his hand reconstructing.
He's gone through the bones, gone through the tendons, gone through the skin.
Martin is rushed to theatre where a team of surgeons is waiting.
It's important that they get to work straightaway
for there to be any chance of restoring function to the hand,
something that's pretty important for a carpenter.
The team will work into the night to give it their best shot.
Join us later in the show when we'll find out if they can save Martin's hand and his livelihood.
Bizarre cases aren't confined to Britain
and this series we've scoured the globe to bring you the world's most extraordinary emergencies.
Down under, doctors resorted to surreal skin peeling surgery
when a Kiwi forest worker came to them with a skull so obliterated
the lower half of his face shifted a centimetre to the right.
For lovers of the outdoor life, working in the lush New Zealand countryside
is like working in Paradise.
But Paradise turned to Hell for Johnathan Tobeck when after an horrific accident
doctors had to give him the ultimate face peel.
the Hawkes Bay region produces delicious fruit and world class wine.
It's also home to Johnathan who at the tender age of 22 had already achieved his dream job.
I've been in the Forestry for eight years. I like it. It's awesome.
It's my life. It's my work.
Awesome feeling being out there and working in amongst all the trees.
One day Johnathan was happily chopping down huge trees in a scenic New Zealand bush.
These trees need to be pulled back through the forest to be hulled.
There's a hauler a big machine, it's got wires coming off all over it.
These wires stretch for miles along the forest, slowly dragging trees from where they fall.
Sort of like a ski lift.
Holding the massive logs in place are these giant metal chokers.
Thirsty from working in the harsh Kiwi sun, Johnathan sat down for a well-earned drink.
I'd just put my bottle down and I was turning round to grab the lid
and boom...bash...out... Lights gone.
The choker caught on undergrowth...
a huge wire stretching and building tension until it was launched into his face with a ferocious force.
The next thing I remember was waking up and all my mates were all around me
and I said to them "What's going on, let's get back to work."
The nasty left hook hit with such power and intensity that it pushed most of his cheekbone,
the top part of his jaw, and his nose bones a centimetre to the other side of his face.
All the bones in my face were all shattered so... Yeah, it was quite nasty.
Paramedics were called to the rescue. But getting there wasn't going to be easy.
It was up the side of a freshly filled hillside... climbing over broken trees.
The helicopter is the only answer for people like that.
'Even that has its difficulties.'
Guide wires go into bits of machinery and things like that so we saw where the patient was,
which was high up the side of a hill.
The hill was too steep for the helicopter to land
so Johnathan had to be winched to flat ground where he was stabilised.
The skin of the scalp was split from ear to ear
and he had a lot of deformity and swelling around his face.
I grabbed my face to hold it and there was...
it was like jelly.
It was really incredible to think that he was still alive.
All I could think about was my daughter and yeah I just wanted to see her again.
Didn't want my life to be over.
Johnathan was really lucky with his injury.
It could have certainly been a lot worse. It could have killed him,
he could have lost his sight in one or both of his eyes.
If he didn't receive expert treatment quickly,
he'd not only look horrific, he'd have to endure a lifetime
of double vision, making most tasks,
including his beloved woodland work, pretty much impossible.
Most of the facial bones had been shunted off to one side.
Not only was he in a great deal of pain,
but he was quite clearly distressed.
Walked straight past the mirror I got a fright.
I didn't realise I looked like that. It was quite scary.
The hook had decimated Johnathan's skull.
When we first saw Johnathan,
the hook had hit him on this part of his face
and the impact has managed to separate the whole of the cheekbone
and this piece of bone on the CT scan is totally shattered.
Surgeons needed direct access into Johnathan's skull to move his bones
back into place and had to resort to drastic and surreal surgery.
The doctor came in and told me what he had to do and I freaked out.
I was like "What?! I don't think so."
Squeamish viewers be warned - there are some gruesome images ahead.
To get at these broken pieces of bone,
we need to peel his face forward and up.
Like something from a horror movie, surgeons pulled back the skin
to reveal Johnathan's badly damaged skull.
Doctors screwed a series of plates into place,
painstakingly rebuilding his skull structure.
This is Johnathan's operation here.
These are some of the plates and screws.
These are little clips that we put on the scalp's skin.
Not only does it help stop it bleeding, but it treats
the hair follicles well so that they don't die
and these patients don't end up with bald patches.
With the plates locked into place, doctors folded his face back
using 42 staples to hold it in place.
They gave me a mirror and everything looked heaps better.
Now the injury just had to heal,
though there were some teething troubles along the way.
They had wired all my jaw up and I couldn't eat anything but milkshakes.
I'm not a fan of milkshakes any more.
# My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard
# And they're like, "It's better than yours".. #
I hate milkshakes!
'Every morning I wake up now and I take a big breath
'and feel amazed that I am still able to breathe...
'..and enjoy life as it goes.'
Time now to enter the Bizarre ER confessional.
We've invited medics from across the land to share
the funniest and freakiest things they've seen in A&E.
These stories might sound far fetched, but they're all 100% true.
Sometimes patients don't tell you very much.
This 32-year-old lad in a suit came in and said
he thought he had something up his bottom.
Wouldn't tell us any more. He let us examine him.
His tummy was soft. But when we put a finger up his bum, we could feel something and we X-rayed him.
That's the X-Ray. That's his tailbone and THAT is stuck in his rectum!
We looked at that and we didn't know what the hell it was.
Was it some giant industrial syringe or is it a screwdriver?
Anyway, we took it out - it was a vibrator.
We washed it, we gave it to him. He said nothing. We asked nothing.
Nothing needed to be said.
We had a young girl in.
She got a shock from her Xmas tree lights that were flashing too fast.
Because she was bending down with her arm outstretched, it travelled
from one arm to the other and blew the top of her finger off.
Her family were horrified and screamed.
Unfortunately the little bit of finger that had blown off
went straight down the throat of her sister who was screaming the loudest.
We had two patients in - the girl with the top of her finger missing
and her sister with a foreign body, the top of the finger, in her throat.
But it was a happy Xmas story.
We were able to retrieve the finger and sew it back on to the sister.
Earlier in the show we met Martin...
..a carpenter who'd had an unfortunate slip with his chop saw
-and very nearly severed his entire hand.
-He's gone through the bones, the tendons and the skin.
After some painful pre-op procedures Martin was sent straight to theatre
where surgeons worked for five hours to repair the grim gaping wound across the back of his hand.
It's just 48 hours later, but incredibly Martin's up and about
and preparing to go home, although his cast is taking a bit of getting used to.
There's a solid cast... Ow.
There's a solid cast all the way underneath
that goes all the way round basically holding the hand up.
Brave Martin and the staff are happy with their handiwork.
They put in three wires which have realigned the bones back into
position that they should be in then they've reconstructed the tendons
on the back of the hand, any nerves or vessels that were damaged,
and also sewed the skin back up together.
The surgery went well so just keep my fingers crossed, really.
Not that I can!
But as he heads home to recuperate, the question is will his hand return to full health?
It's a month later and Martin's back hoping to see a wholesome hand where once there was a gruesome gash.
I can move my fingers, it could be a lot worse
But that's about all I can do.
I did think about going into puppetry.
"Hello, how are you today?"
Before he heads to his audition for Avenue Q, Martin pops in to
have his bandage changed and the first look at the healing hand.
Let's remove all this and then we can have a look and see what we're up to.
HE GASPS All right?
-You didn't like that.
-No. That hurt, that did.
It's looking a lot better than it was.
Most of it... A lot of it has healed now.
It's definitely improved a lot. I mean, it was...
It was quite horrific to start with. Now it just looks a bit unpleasant.
Long, long process.
Time. Time's a great healer they say.
Martin heads off knowing that the road to recovery will be a long one,
but thanks to the efforts of the Northampton General staff doctors are hopeful that
in a year or so, he'll have almost all the function back in his hand.
Next time on Bizarre ER,
a biking blunder causes one man's metalwork to make a break for it.
It's punctured through the end. It's not great.
A young thrillseeker ends up battered after taking a bizarre joy ride.
Not knowing you can fall off an old granny trolley.
And the story of how two Norwegian adventurers' Arctic expedition turned to terror when they were
attacked in their sleep by a deadly polar bear.
Polar bears are strong animals. It can take seconds to kill a person.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Featuring a toddler with his favourite bath toy stuck on the end of his finger; a carpenter who nearly severed his own hand after a momentary slip with a chop saw; a teenager whose tumble into a quarry ended with him getting a stick stuck in his head; and a man who arrived with his finger at a right angle after he fell and dislocated it on the way to the pub.
Plus, how surgeons rebuilt a New Zealand forest worker's shattered skull by peeling back his face, and medical professionals confess the oddest and most outlandish things they've been confronted with in casualty.