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New docuseries gives ‘fascinating’ glimpse into work of life-saving Aberdeen trauma team

Following an elite network of clinicians. If the patient can't make it to the emergency
room in time, the Scottish Trauma Network brings the hospital direct to the hillside, saving lives like never before.
Following an elite network of clinicians. If the patient can't make it to the emergency room in time, the Scottish Trauma Network brings the hospital direct to the hillside, saving lives like never before.

Treating patients with serious injuries can be a tough job for medics.

But it can be even more challenging when they’re involved in accidents in some of Scotland’s most treacherous and remote locations.

For the north and north-east of Scotland, many of these rescues are handled at Aberdeen’s major trauma centre (MTC).

Film crews have been following the staff there for a new Channel 4 docuseries, Rescue: Extreme Medics, airing on Mondays at 9pm.

‘Within a flash, your whole life can change’

As well as documenting the daring rescues taking place, the new programme also shows the unique way patients are cared for.

Fiona Whyment, the MTC nurse manager who appears in the show, said: “They’re not just patients that have got a single injury.

“These are injuries that, within a flash, your whole life can change— your whole family’s life can change.

“So, we offer neuropsychology support which is really unique to the major trauma centre.

“We also give them our contact details so they can phone and meet with us at any point in time.”

And it’s not just adults that the team takes care of in the event of these accidents, ARI also has a paediatric centre when children are involved in incidents.

Great opportunity for public to see ARI at work

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is just one of the four major trauma centres in Scotland and connects the five health boards of Grampian, Highland, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

And even though Aberdeen is a pivotal point where cases are brought in, patients repatriated all over the continent, including Scots being brought back home from America or Italy to receive care.

Air ambulance crews play a pivotal role in locating patients in hard to reach places in the north and north-east.

Fiona said the experience was “very humbling” and called it a “great opportunity” for the public to see what they actually do.

Particularly since major trauma isn’t a “Monday to Friday, nine to five” job, and the film crews had to work in tandem to ensure they were respectful and obliging.

‘People should know we’re there for them’

“It’s very humbling because this is people’s lives that we deal with every day,” she explained.

“But we’re showcasing what we do. That we do our job well and we support our patients.”

Fiona said much interdisciplinary team working goes into handling major trauma cases.

“The public should just know that we’re there for them, that it’s not just about Covid.

“We’re there for them. We have a good team, we have a good system that will care for them and they will come out on the other end.”

‘Series is fascinating insight’

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said the board had carefully considered opening up the doors to the film crew.

She added: “There are a huge number of stages in the process to get agreement for a series like this to completion, but we are so delighted with the results.

“The series is a fascinating insight into the work of these trauma teams and we are proud that NHS Grampian was able to take part.

“Thanks to the staff involved and of of course the patients and their families for consenting.”

The docuseries, Rescue: Extreme Medics, airs Mondays at 9pm on Channel 4.

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