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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...
# So come on... #
..and for the first time we've camped out in not one but two British hospitals...
Northampton General and Bradford Royal Infirmary...
..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're 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.
# You're bringing out the best in me. #
Coming up... a Bradford rag'n'bone man nearly turns his hand to scrap...
Just caught it with a knife.
..one rider canters down to casualty after a surreal stable stampede...
I was awful, I thought I was gonna die.
..and we reveal how this man made medical history
when he grabbed the chance to have a bizarre and ground-breaking procedure
that involved stitching someone else's hand to the end of his arm.
I will never ever forget what was given to me.
But first we're heading to Bradford for a very special addition of Strictly Come Casualty.
Tonight's star turn is Olivia Dalby who's arrived at A&E
with dancing partners Laura and Hannah after a bizarre ballroom blunder.
If I try to wink it hurts... it actually hurts.
An hour ago the trio were helping out at the bouncy castle birthday
of Hannah's five-year-old brother when some not-so-fancy footwork ended in disaster.
Having seen off the hyperactive herd of pint-sized partygoers...
See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!
..Olivia, Laura and Hannah decided to reward themselves
with a three-way waltz across the castle.
But what started as a dainty dance quickly deteriorated into a tangled tango.
One almighty bounce later and a random clout to the cranium
left Olivia's bonce spurting blood.
Fortunately, nobody overreacted.
They were telling me I were gonna bleed to death,
they were like, "I hope you don't die and just bleed to death," I thought like, "What?"
With her life on the line the threesome quickstepped over to A&E
joined by Olivia's dad Michael, stepmum Heather and the original party host, Hannah's stepmum Claire.
The blood flowed and the bouncy castle's covered
and my floor is covered and everything is covered in blood
from a 13-year-old. There's a lot of cleaning to do when I get home now.
There isn't a great deal more sympathy from Dad.
No, I should be at the pub tonight... it's the only time I go out,
the one time I go out a week and I get a telephone just as I'm getting ready to set off - typical.
# Hello, babe, what's happening? You cool? #
THEIR NAMES ARE CALLED
Fortunately it's Dr Patrick Tong's job to be more concerned -
and not just about fitting everyone in the cubicle.
-Did you pass out or anything like that?
Dr Tong is worried that the knock to the noggin
may have caused concussion so he needs to do a thorough examination.
I've got a headache but...
-Any pain here?
-And your jaw is all right, yeah?
-She can still talk.
-I can still talk.
Olivia can certainly talk but can she see and hear properly?
Straight ahead for me.
Unequal pupil size or blood coming from the ear
could indicate a more serious head injury like a haemorrhage.
-Been sick or vomited?
Satisfied that Olivia isn't showing any obviously worrying signs,
Dr Tong finally inspects the wound itself to see how deep it is.
-I think what we need to do is give it a good clean first, see if we can put some glue on it, OK?
Skin glue is often used instead of stitches on small, straight wounds as it tends to leave less scarring.
It's nurse Corinne Woods' job to do a spot of bizarre eyebrow-shaping.
I've got a needle on the end of the glue and the last thing I want to do
is stick it in the top of your eye or anywhere silly, all right?
-Are you holding Mum's hand?
First Corinne washes the wound to prevent infection...
..then she uses a tiny needle to apply the glue.
Just dropping it on now.
Originally developed to treat soldiers on the battlefield, it sets on touching liquids like blood.
Just been saying what beautiful eyebrows you've got.
Not for any longer!
And within two minutes it's as strong as week-old stitches.
It'll just leave a tiny line probably just above your eyebrow, OK?
-Thanks ever so much for your help.
With Olivia patched up the girls can once again hit the dance floor,
having learnt the hard way one of the golden rules of ballroom dancing.
Never dance... Never try to do the waltz...on a bouncy castle.
They might be sticking to solid ground but it seems like bouncing's in Olivia's blood.
While bouncy castles might seem like a bit of carefree fun
these potentially fatal inflatables send the best part of 10,000 people to A&E every year.
Along with bounce expect the sort of breaks and bruises
that were sustained by the partygoers at one 21st
who were brought to earth with a bump when a bouncy castle was maliciously deflated.
If you want to feel safer while getting your jumping jollies,
then head to the fairground, where only 170 people fall foul
of the blow-up battlements, as the rides tend to be better supervised.
But while the bouncy castles may not batter you there are plenty of rides that might.
Darling, I want to get off.
Nearly 400 people are wounded by waltzers,
260 come off worse in a fight with a punch machine...
..and almost 1,200 are damaged by the deadly dodgem.
But it was a white knuckle ride that nearly finished off Catherine Deal.
The 22-year-old was hurled from the Giant Dipper
on Lick Pier in LA in 1922...
Oh, hello there!
..as she turned to wave at a friend in the car behind.
Catherine was saved by the cat-like reflexes of a fellow passenger
who caught her by the ankle as she flew past.
Why, thank you, sir!
But we don't want to be total killjoys at Bizarre ER.
Rest assured that your risk of death at the fairground
is just one in 300 million.
Meaning you are just as likely to be killed by a shark attack...
..and more likely to be done in by a leaking nuclear reactor
or a falling coconut.
Next we're heading to Bradford where rag'n'bone merchant Joe Ewbanks is feeling rubbish...
after a scrap with a Stanley knife in which he came off worse.
Just, um, cutting a tyre up and I caught it with a knife.
Squeamish viewers look away now as Nurse Betty's about to reveal
a pretty gory gash underneath Joe's t-shirt tourniquet.
Pop your arm across here for me.
Have you had anything for the pain while you've been...
-OK. Would you like me to give you something?
-No, it's all right.
So brave Joe brazens it out without pain relief...
..but he's known for being a bit of a tough guy.
MUSIC: Theme from Steptoe And Son
Joe's used to being out on the streets of Bradford in all weathers,
ably accompanied by trusty stead Noddy, in search of scrap for cash.
Early today Joe spotted a juicy bit of junk in the shape of a car tyre
but while using his Stanley knife to cut it free from the wheel,
Joe nearly separated thumb from hand rather than rubber from metal.
-Can you feel me touching down here OK?
-Any pain when I do that?
-A bit there.
As he's been handling dirty scrap, Joe's at high risk of blood poisoning,
plus if he's sliced deep and cut through nerves or tendons
he could lose the use of his thumb, putting his whole livelihood at risk.
To combat infection and so he can see how much damage has been done,
Dr Saleem Ullah Khan has to wash the wound.
Unluckily for Joe, this will involve injections of local anaesthetic.
How many needles will I have to get?
-Just one needle.
-Oh, that's all right.
-One needle a few times.
-A few times?
Yeah, it is a big wound so just...
-You trying to give me a heart attack?
-No, I'm trying to help you.
-Will I feel it every time?
-You'll be fine.
Fortunately for jumpy Joe emergency nurse practitioner Simon Hunt
is on hand to prepare the plunger and provide some calming reassurance.
-How big's the needle?
I don't like needles.
To take his mind off the needles Joe enjoys a quick game of 20 questions.
How badly does it sting?
How many times will he inject it?
Does he put the needle inside of it?
Dr Saleem's back to deliver a round of nerve-numbing shots.
-Try to stay still... sharp scratch...
-Don't look here.
-Don't look here?
You're sticking needles in my hand.
You're doing very good.
With the hand numbed the wound can be cleaned and Dr Saleem sees just how far Joe's sliced.
The wound is deep, it's just about your major joint of your thumb, OK?
The blade slashed down to the subcutaneous or deepest layer
of skin so damage to nerves and tendons is definitely possible.
The plastic surgeon's going to have a look and decide what to do.
Joe's sent to surgery where medics can get a closer look
at the carve up and ensure his hand won't be heading for the scrap heap.
Viewers who don't fancy getting a good look at the inside of Joe's mitt might want to avert their eyes.
Someone who IS keen to peer into the palm though is surgeon Mr Ahmad.
He first checks out the tendon.
The tendon is quite intact here so I don't have to do anything
and that's the tendon that extends the thumb.
The tendon might be OK but what about the nerves?
What I'm looking is a little nerve that goes here and supplies this area here, you know...
that's the nerve I'm looking at to make sure that nerve is OK
and then once I see the nerve then we should be starting
to close this up.
I see a nerve here...
he's been very lucky not to injure anything serious here.
It's just mainly skin and soft tissue.
All that's left to do is trim away the dead skin and sew up the gaping gash.
20 stitches later, Mr Ahmad's work is done,
and Joe's had a lucky escape.
Luckily he hasn't cut his tendon, he hasn't cut his nerve so he's fine
and he should be able to go home today.
Once again able to give us the big thumbs up,
Joe's wheeled off to recover
but he'll be out and back on the wagon later that day
and his hand should be fully functional within a couple of weeks.
There are many like Joe who are not fans of needles
but the humble syringe has a grand history...
stretching right back to Ancient Greece.
It's named after the nymph Syrinx...
..who was transformed into a thin reed when she prayed
to avoid the unwanted advances of the randy god Pan.
As early as the first century
Roman doctors were using rudimentary syringes but as these weren't fitted
with needles they had to rely on the area being cut before the syringe
was used to inject or extract.
-Actually it was my other arm.
For centuries doctors tried in vain to hit a vein
until in 1853 Frenchman Charles Cravaze
and canny Scot Alexander Wood,
developed a hollow needle fine enough to pierce the skin.
A heart-warming tale if it weren't for the fact that Wood's WAG
promptly became the first person to OD on morphine injected by her hubby's natty new creation.
Thy hypodermic needle has since both cured and killed.
Injections and inoculations save countless millions every year
but for some the mere sight of a needle can be fatal.
Trypanophobia or the fear of syringes
has caused the death of at least 23 people.
Their panic at the prospect of being pricked caused their blood pressure
to drop to a lethal level.
While not everyone is scared to death by syringes,
nobody likes a small prick in the bottom,
-as the ladies of Hong Kong can confirm.
The city went on high alert over a suspected syringe attacker in 2009
after two women reported being injected in their derrieres
while going about their daily business.
-It turned out to be Pham Van Diep...
-..a Vietnamese labourer with a fetish for big bottoms...
..who was prodding the posteriors with toothpicks.
Mr Van Diep is now safely behind bars and of course
no fancy dress party is complete without a naughty nurse brandishing
a giant syringe guaranteed to inject a bit of fun into any gathering.
Beyond Bradford is a great big world of bizarre accidents and this series we've scoured the globe to bring you
the most extraordinary emergencies on the planet.
Over in the States medical history was made when, following a freak firework accident,
doctors deployed a revolutionary new technique to give one man a hand.
Squeamish viewers be warned
this story contains some gory images right from the start.
This is Matt Scott...
but this isn't his hand.
This is his hand, or at least what was left of it
after a festive firecracker blew it to smithereens.
I am the world's first successful recipient of a hand transplant.
The day that changed Matt's life for ever happened way back in 1985 but the event is burnt into his memory.
The fuse was probably about this length...
I just touched the fuse to the tip of a cigarette.
The firecracker was a monster,
an M80 invented by the military to simulate an artillery explosion.
It burned so quickly that my friend yelled, "Throw it,"
so I took it away from my face to throw it and it exploded.
Dr Elliot Amiss surveyed the damage wrought
by the exploding firework.
The only thing that was left was the thumb and the index finger...
the hand had been blown to bits.
The middle, ring and small fingers were gone,
the palm was gone, the wrist and all the bones in the wrist were gone.
The fearsome firecracker was like a grenade,
the flying shrapnel was the bones of Matt's own hand.
There were holes in the wall, a dent in the refrigerator
that was caused by parts of my bone hitting it,
there was bone and tendon and blood everywhere.
Amazingly, Matt had a more serious problem.
I looked down and I realised that the radial artery in my hand was ruptured
and it was pumping blood with each heartbeat.
Luckily Matt had just graduated from paramedic school and knew exactly what to do.
I grabbed on to the stump and squeezed the arm to stop the bleeding.
At that time, in the '80s, a hand transplant was impossible,
so amputation was the only option.
Hearing the word amputation...
is one of those words you hope you never hear in your life.
Although Matt knew what was coming, the post-op reality was still a shock.
When I looked to the left all I could see was the stump
of my forearm wrapped in bandages and my hand was completely gone.
It was at that point in time that I knew
that it was forever.
A state-of-the-art electronic prosthetic arm meant Matt
could go back to work as a paramedic but it could be a real handful.
When wet would come in contact with the electrodes then I would lose control of the hand.
Radio frequencies would activate the hand, it would open it or close it
and if I was in the middle of doing something and somebody keyed a radio and I could lose control of it.
12 years later this man, Dr Breidenbach,
was working to make Matt's fantasy of getting a real hand a reality.
If you can lose your hand in an accident we know how to put your
own hand back on so that you'll get some function.
Putting the hand on was not the most difficult part.
The most difficult part would be ensuring
that the recipient's immune system didn't reject the new addition.
In order to stop the body from rejecting it we had to get drugs,
immunosuppressant drugs, and those drugs can kill you.
By the late '90s Dr Breidenbach had concocted a cocktail of drugs
that he hoped would stop the body rejecting a donor hand without killing the patient.
But he still couldn't offer a guarantee that a new hand would stay on.
He had a 50% chance of losing his hand in the first year,
and another 50% chance of losing the hand in the next five years.
With all these drawbacks and a very real risk of premature death,
all Dr Breidenbach needed was a volunteer...
Matt raised his hand.
Prosthesis or flesh and blood...
the choice for me wasn't hard, wasn't difficult.
This was a patient stepping up to attempt to do something that
many people felt would not work or could possibly even end in the patient losing his life.
In 1999 all Matt's years of hoping and all the doctor's years of planning
came together in the groundbreaking operation.
We attach the bones first and then work our way sequentially
through the tendons, the arteries, the nerves and the other structures.
Even when the new hand is mechanically connected
and suffused with blood, there's still no guarantee of success.
This could all be a big failure.
You could get a hand, it could stay on but it may never work.
Having waited so long Matt was determined to get his second-hand hand to work.
A tiny flicker was all it took.
The moment I moved those fingers...
-did that and it moved because of something I wanted it to do.
That was a big day for all of us.
That hand was now mine. It belonged to me.
Although functioning, the hand was largely numb,
until one day Matt got the coolest of sensations.
I reached into the freezer and when I reached in there
I had the oddest sensation and I said, "That's cold. I feel the cold."
Over a decade on and despite doctors' initial concerns
there's still plenty of life in Matt's left hand.
Matt's grateful to the doctors but there is one person to thank above all...for handing him the hand.
I will never ever forget what was given to me
because I see it every day and I think of my donor every day
and I think of the family every day.
Matt risked his life to get his hand back, to be whole again
but, despite the success, tissue rejection remains a constant threat.
Looking at Matt he's so healthy it's hard to see why this can't go on another ten years.
If they were to say, "It has to come off tomorrow",
I would say, "Fine, it has to come off, when can I get another one?"
I would do it again.
Next we're heading to Northampton where there's been an odd equestrian emergency.
Anne Hartley's arrived at A&E after her plans for a perfect day in the saddle turned into a bit of a mare.
I did think I wasn't going to get out of there alive.
It was awful, I thought I was going to die.
Anne spent the morning out riding her pony Jonesy.
But back at the stables something suddenly spooked her four-legged friend.
Jonesy panicked and the petrified pony pulled on his bridle,
yanking the entire wall from its fixings.
The flying wall crashed into Anne,
knocking her to the ground and trapping her underneath.
Desperate to escape, Jonesy clattered around while helpless Anne
was crushed beneath, seeing only his dancing hooves.
That's the bone sticking through...
Well, it's not sticking through, but you can feel it there.
The pony's done a good job, bless him.
With Anne now stable in Bay 13
emergency nurse practitioner Maria Catlin checks her back...
-Anywhere at all that's sore?
-No, that's OK.
..and then her X-Rays.
The real damage is to her shoulder and the upper-arm bone known as the humerus
but there's nothing funny about this humerus X-Ray.
When you have a normal picture of a shoulder the head should be sitting
quite nice and neatly in there with the shaft coming down.
Unfortunately hers is sitting slightly over here, if you like...
and the shaft of it is coming up here... Can you see it?
The injury is so severe that surgery might be needed.
But medics want to avoid that if they can
and first op for a more unusual method - they want Anne to get plastered.
They're gonna put her arm in a hanging cast.
The cast doesn't support the fracture
but may align the bones using the encased arm's natural weight plus gravity.
Right, if you just let that shoulder relax.
As the cast begins to do its job, Anne finds the going heavy.
-Ooohh, God, that's heavy.
-It is, isn't it?
-Is that quite uncomfortable?
Now might be a good time to try painkillers just to get you over this bit.
Anne heads home to pasture.
But over the next two weeks
the bones don't fall into alignment so she's back at Northampton General
with no option but to go under the knife.
I'm quite scared of the operation.
It sounds quite gruesome and they can't pin it any more, they've got to put a prosthetic joint in
but he did say it would be working perfectly afterwards, so hopefully it should be all OK.
Chomping at the bit to get on with inserting Anne's prosthetic implant is orthopaedic surgeon Mr Kerr.
We're gonna do a hemiarthroplasty,
which is a replacement of the ball that goes on the top of the shaft.
With surgeons under starter's orders now might be a good time
for more squeamish viewers to pop on the blinkers.
And they're off...
with a deep incision to the top of the shoulder,
cutting through layers of muscle before removing the bashed up bones.
Here we are here's the head... here's the head of the humerus.
That is the head, that is the bit that was broken off...
there you can see the fracture...
and that is the bone and that is the articular surface,
that is the gristle that makes up the joint.
That's gonna be replaced by a shiny piece of chrome cobalt - metal.
Next the arm's prepared for the artificial implant and it's not a pretty sight.
This is the reamer...
put it down the shaft...
There we are, I'm reaming out the soft bone
from the inside of the canal.
With the bone gently hollowed out, the stem can be checked for size.
That's the stem that goes in the humerus...
this is the introducer...
That fits very nicely.
With a couple of delicate taps, the hollowed-out bone is then plugged so it can hold bone cement.
It's quite scientific, this bit of the procedure.
That fits in nicely, you can start mixing for her.
Fry's mixing the bone cement
that will go in the canal to hold the stem in position.
Fry hands over the ready-mixed cement which is pumped into place,
much like you'd grout your bathroom.
Cement going in, guys.
Once the stem's inserted it takes ten minutes for the cement to set,
giving Mr Kerr time to catch his breath before the final furlong.
It's a truly bizarre way to injure yourself and I've never come across anything like this before.
But anyway, I think we've put her back together so it should be all right.
The metal bone head's daintily put into place.
That's on a taper so we just tap it in to get the taper to lodge home.
And quicker than you can say "Seabiscuit", Anne's got a shiny new shoulder joint.
So turns in...turns out.
He shakes it all about.
OK, thank you, guys, thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you, Fry. Thank you.
As they head down the home straight, Anne's stitched up and Mr Kerr seems happy with the results.
Well, Anne had a very nasty fracture
but I think she should do very well now with her artificial shoulder
and I look forward to seeing her in a clinic in a few days.
Passing the finish post, Anne's taken into recovery
and the next day she's looking forward to trotting home.
The operation I believe went very well...
I'm having an X-ray today just to check everything's all right.
Hopefully it won't be too long, then I can see the doctor and go home,
providing it's all OK, I think it probably is.
And like any true horse lover there's only one thing on her mind.
I'm hoping to go straight to my horse Jonesy if husband will take me, depending on what time I get out,
and give him a big cuddle and tell him it wasn't his fault and that I'm as good as new again.
So Anne heads home at a brisk pace.
An injury this serious will require months of physio
but medics are confident that she'll regain almost all the function in her arm
and there's no reason she won't be back in the saddle before too long.
Next time on Bizarre ER, there's a peculiar playtime snack...
I don't have to spend my days with my finger in someone's mouth, normally.
Hot off the press, a paper machine mangles one woman's mitt...
-Is it a mess?
..and we reveal how surgeons saved this man's arm, face and life
after he was impaled on not one but three fence posts
in a catastrophic and near-fatal car crash.
I've never known anybody to suffer injuries like that and survive it...in 37 years.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
Email [email protected]
Featuring a girl who split her head open after some ballroom dancing on a bouncy castle, a Bradford rag and bone man who carved into his hand with a Stanley knife, and an equestrian emergency after a horse-lover is trampled by her own pony and has to have a prosthetic implant put in her shoulder.
Plus, the story of how a man in America became the first person ever to have a successful hand transplant, after losing his left hand in a freak firework accident.