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Series 3

In this episode a young woman is admitted with life-threatening head injuries sustained in a car accident. Clinical Director Dr Richard Hall must make split second critical decisions. Can the team save her life?

Then there is another urgent case. Shane – a fire fighter and father of four – has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer despite being an exceptionally fit and healthy 40-year-old. There is a narrow window of opportunity to operate on this fast-moving cancer before it is too late.  In an eight-hour operation Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon Mr Oliver Priest must try to remove this fast-moving cancer to give him the best chance of survival.  

In the trauma unit, team Leader Alex Hart and the surgical team provide urgent care for a motorcyclist with devastating injuries to his foot following a crash. After stabilising him, the motorcyclist is rushed to surgery in a desperate attempt to save his leg. A life saving choice emerges, and it involves a heartbreaking decision in the midst of emergency surgery.  

Following the medical staff as they take difficult life and death decisions, this episode charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies to save lives. It is a world where there are rarely any second chances.

In this episode, Damion has sustained numerous traumatic injuries after being trapped upside down in his car after a crash. Despite numerous injuries to the head and chest, Trauma Team Leader Dr Chris Pickering is most worried about Damion’s lungs as his patient struggles to breathe. 

The stakes are high too for David. A fun-loving grandfather who loves to ride his motorbikes, David has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour that is pressing on his brain stem. He needs an emergency operation or the tumour will kill him. But the sixteen hour operation with neurosurgeon Mr Price is high risk. 

Meanwhile as Dr Diane Adamson rushes to treat Janet, a female motorbike passenger involved in another serious crash, a second trauma call goes out - this time for her partner Martin. Both patients have significant injuries.  At first, Janet seems to be the less urgent of the two, but then Dr Adamson discovers that there is no time to lose. Janet’s life is on the line.

Following the medical staff as they take difficult life and death decisions, this episode charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies to save lives. It is a world where there are rarely any second chances.


In this episode Cara has fallen 50 metres down a waterfall. She has multiple obvious injuries that need urgent care, but trauma specialist Dr Richard Fawcett must also investigate hidden internal injuries that are an immediate threat to life.   Cara is aware of the peril she’s in – and asks Dr Fawcett whether he thinks she’ll survive.  When she suddenly deteriorates in the scan room, Richard and the team have to make split second decisions on how to treat her.

Robert arrives in a critical condition; he’s unconscious and his eyes are not reacting to the light.  Dr Salmon Islam, the on-duty anaesthetist, is concerned. They need to stabilise him and get him urgently to an operating theatre for an emergency operation to stop a build-up of fluid in his brain. His life is on a knife edge.

Meanwhile Trauma Team Leader Dr Alex Hart treats a victim of a high-speed car crash.  Within minutes of his arrival, Dr Hart suspects the patient has life-threatening head injuries and quickly books surgeons, theatres, and CT scans to deliver urgent care for this priority case. 

And Dr Anthony Taylor faces a patient with a condition that has haunted him for over twenty years. It is a fast-growing neck tumour that’s broken through the skin and is bleeding. As the tumour has wrapped itself around a key artery, surgery is not an option and staff battle to stem the bleeding before it’s too late.

Following the medical staff as they take difficult life and death decisions, this episode charts the vital interventions, actions and medical strategies to save lives. It is a world where there are rarely any second chances.


In this episode we see just how fragile life can be.

Wayne is rushed in by helicopter after his parachute fails and he is slammed into the ground 100 feet below. With potentially life-threatening injuries Trauma Team Leader Chris Pickering has to assess the multiple issues quickly. He races him to a scan but Wayne’s blood pressure dramatically suddenly crashes. Then he receives news that Wayne potentially has an injury to his renal artery, which if left untreated, will kill him. The race is on to get him to theatre.

Elsewhere Marc has also suffered a significant trauma after he has a head on collision with another vehicle. Even though he’s conscious and asking questions, Trauma Team Leader Julie Norton is concerned that he could have a basal skull fracture. As Marc’s parents rush to the hospital, she must deliver difficult news to his family and urgently get him the care he needs.


For Charlie, there’s not a moment to lose as he is brought in for emergency surgery. An adrenal tumour is causing his blood pressure to rocket sky high and surgeon Mr Golash knows he must remove it before Charlie has a cardiac arrest. But once on the table, Charlie’s condition deteriorates rapidly as he is anaesthetised and his blood pressure begins to soar. As his condition worsens, all surgeon Mr Golash can do, is stand back and wait to see if the anaesthetist can stablise him in time for his critical surgery to begin.

Finally, it’s all systems go when Karl is rushed to the Emergency Department after the tractor he was fixing begins to roll backwards, crushing his leg and chest against a van. Trauma Team leader Chris Pickering immediately fears the worst, but soon learns that Karl has had an amazing Houdini like escape - but at what cost?

Patient Stories

Series 3 introduced us to a whole host of incredible patient stories. Here are just a few of them​...

A 30-year-old wakeboarding enthusiast is to feature in the first episode of the latest series of 999: Critical Condition, the exclusive documentary charting the life and death decisions and actions of staff at Royals Stoke University Hospital.

Toby Yeo, lives near Chorlton in Greater Manchester, collided with a stationary boat shortly after performing the popular ‘air rayley’ trick and suffered a badly broken leg. Whilst the incident left him on crutches for three months, doctors initially feared it could have been much worse.

Today Toby said: “At first doctors thought I might have damaged my spine and pelvis, but fortunately it turned out they were ok. On the day of the accident I went to meet up with a friend who has recently got into it and I had already done a few laps and a few tricks. I edged out for a trick called ‘air rayley’ which is also known as a ‘Superman trick’ where you sort of fly through the air. I landed perfectly but it’s kind of hard to explain what happened next. I’ve done these tricks time and time again, I could do them with my eyes closed, but this time the cable came all the way back into the shore and I ploughed into the side of a nearby boat.

“I knew it was bad and my leg was bent in an awful kind of way. It was crazy, excruciating pain, like the worst pain you’ve ever experienced then multiply that by 50. The operators were really good and calmed me down, they put me on a stretcher and lifted me to shore where we waited for an air ambulance. I remember even in my state of pain I was still really gutted when paramedics chopped through my wetsuit! They wrapped me up, gave me painkillers and took me to hospital.” 

Toby has practiced wakeboarding for years after getting into it at a young age and has even competed semi-professionally.

He was brought into resus at Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke on Trent - home to one of the top major trauma centres in the country. His story will be told in the latest series of 999: Critical Condition on Channel 5.

After initial concern, scans performed in the hospital’s radiology department revealed Toby had a narrow escape, with just a clean break in his left thigh bone.

In the episode his doctor, Trauma Team Leader and Emergency Medincine Consultant Dr Anthony Taylor says: “We hope for the best but prepare for the worst all the time because it is not safe to do that.”

Wakeboarding is a high intensity sport which involves the rider standing on a wakeboard (a short board with foot bindings) and being towed behind a motorboat across its wake and especially up off the crest in order to perform aerial manoeuvres.

Toby said: “My granddad and uncle grew up water skiing at Lake Windermere, so we’ve all always been involved in water sports in some way and my uncle even represented Great Britain for water skiing in Sicily in the 90s. They passed their love of water sports down to me and my brother and we joined a club where we could train and practise each weekend.

“The whole thing has been a horrible experience, but the care was great, the staff looked after me and my surgery went well. Everyone was nice and I got to talk to a few other patients, one who had suffered a lot more injuries than me following a motorbike accident.

“I went back to work a few weeks after the accident, I didn’t let it slow me down too much and have still worked at numerous different music festivals and events on my crutches taking photos.

“I’m feeling pretty good now and I got off my crutches in September. My leg isn’t fully healed though, I need to build the muscle up around it and keep doing my physio.

“I’m hoping to start wakeboarding again in March or April this year, so I guess we’ll see what happens when I start.”

Toby is a freelance photographer and filmmaker and has even created his own specialist clothing brand ‘Bay6ix’, which focuses on outdoor and sports clothing.

Toby said: “I will just keep working on my business now and I have recently bought a house with my girlfriend Jodie, who I’ve been with for six years. It’s all about moving forward, I just want to keep growing everything in my life.”


Motorbiking couple Martin Hathaway and Janet Walker are to feature in the second episode of the latest series of 999: Critical Condition, the exclusive documentary charting the life and death decisions and actions of staff at Royals Stoke University Hospital.

The local grandparents, of Rugeley, were rushed to Royal Stoke’s accident and emergency unit last autumn when their motorbike collided with a car. The couple were brought into resus within minutes of each after both sustaining serious injuries. Martin, 62, suffered multiple broken bones and Janet, 53, suffered a break, multiple fractures and several broken ribs.

Thanks to the skill and expertise of clinicians at the Trust’s trauma unit, both are now recovering at home.

The accident happened on 8 September as the pair were travelling back from babysitting two of their grandchildren.

Martin said: “We had been on the road for about 15 minutes when a car pulled out from a t-junction. We ploughed straight into it at 50 mph, I didn’t have time to break. I was unconscious for about 10 minutes and when I came to there were several cars and people around. The pain was excrutiating, like I’ve never felt before. I tried to stand up and fell over, then I noticed that a bone was sticking out of my leg and there was lots of blood. I could only move the top half of my leg. 

“I broke my left little finger and the thumb on my right hand. My arm was in a cast up to my elbow for seven weeks, I broke my right femur and had a lot of grazing and gravel rash. 

“The scariest part was having blood clots on my lungs, I was coughing up blood and on oxygen for quite a few days.

“When I left hospital after 16 days all the staff lined up in the hallways and rang bells, cheering. It was a lovely send-off, I was really chuffed.

“I’m hobbling along now and it’s slow progress, but hopefully we’ll both get there.”

Janet spent five weeks in hospital after the accident. In the programme Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr Diane Adamson says: “There are some significant injuries for Jan with lots of injuries down in the lower limbs which we expected but she does have significant injuries in her chest as well. She has come a cropper, that’s for sure.” 

Janet said: “I can only remember little snippets, like flashing lights sand the ambulance lady asking if it was ok to cut my clothes.

“I feel well in myself now and am going through physio. I have plates and pins in my ankle and knee as well as fractured ribs, it’s all on my left side. Doctors used donor skin from my right thigh to patch up the area around my ankle, it’s amazing what they can do. We’re staying at my mum’s at the moment, she’s been brilliant.”

Martin and Janet have been together for 13 years and have ten grandchildren between them. They enjoy traveling in their motorhome and hope to return to Europe when they are feeling well enough.


A young pharmacist who sustained multiple life threatening injuries after falling 80 foot down the side of a waterfall is to feature in the third episode of the latest series of 999: Critical Condition on Thursday 20 January 2022.

26-year-old Cara Sutton works at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool and was on holiday in Wales when she slipped and fell. She was rushed to the Major Trauma Centre at Royal Stoke University Hospital where doctors fought to save her life.

The documentary, which is filmed exclusively at the Royal Stoke, charts the life and death decisions and actions of staff and this week includes the case of Cara together with a victim of a high speed car crash and a patient with a fast growing tumour.

Today Cara, of Aigburth, Liverpool, said: “I had just recovered from Covid and was desperate to get outside for some fresh air after ten days of isolation. My boyfriend James and I had already planned a trip to Wales in the van he’d done up and we’d got a few different hotels booked and were going to end up by the beach in Barmouth. The day the accident happened was only my second one out of isolation.

“We were mountain biking and had stopped near a bridge to stretch our legs and decided to walk up the side of the waterfall nearby. It was only a short walk but it was a steep incline and I slipped on one of the rocks. It sounds strange but I hadn’t actually got a proper concept of how high up I was, so at first I wasn’t too scared. But James had a better vantage point and could see what trouble I was in. He was desperately trying to reach me and I remember clinging on to some moss and trying to pull myself up. It broke off and I just had this feeling of being dragged backwards.

“I didn’t even scream as I fell and I can’t remember hitting the ground. James was thinking the worst had happened and had run to get help. Fortunately for me there was a doctor nearby with her family, so they all found another route down to me. She began assessing me and kept me calm. People gave me their coats to keep warm.”

The accident happened at Coed-y-Brenin forest in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Cara lay in the ravine for approximately four hours before being winched to safety by the mountain rescue team. At Royal Stoke doctors found she had broken her pelvis, ribs and sternum. She also had a fractured spine and vertebrae and a collapsed lung. She was discharged on 9 November approximately two-and-a-half months after being admitted and is now doing regular physio at home to regain her strength.

Cara was initially treated by trauma consultants Dr Hari and Dr Richard Fawcett who were concerned about the extent of her injuries. In the programme, Dr Fawcett says: “This is a fatal fall, there’s lots of rocks and boulders, so really hard landing and that is a height that can kill someone. If the patient is not dead by the time the emergency services get there you have really got to worry that this patient has ,multiple things wrong with them.”

Thankfully Cara is making a recovery and said: “I’m generally pretty well considering what I’ve been through and the other day I managed to walk 10k. It’s absolutely amazing how well they were able to put me back together again. The trauma doctor was so calming and reassuring and I knew I was in good hands. I definitely could have died but they saved my life.

“Now I just want to get back to what I was doing. Things like bike riding and walking - but not up cliffs! Just being outside, having adventures and getting back to work.”