S11 E08

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S11 E8 (2 Nov 96) : Vital Signs by Barbara Machin

Episode Summary

Jamie Holmer is a pilot in the Royal Air Force, but a while ago, while flying, he hit a bird and the plane crashed, leading to the death of his friend. Now he is blaming himself and he cannot stand flying, even though everyone is trying to say that he should go to councelling to try to get over what happened. His wife and his friend are together trying to help him, which leads to him thinking they are having an affair, he is afraid that he might be epileptic, which would mean the end to his career, and he is drinking too much. In the end he cannot handle all this. He is brought into resus after he has been found unconscious in the middle of a street, but they pump his stomach because he has drunken too much alcohol and he soon gets better. However, all in sudden he starts vomiting blood and he reveals that he, two days ago, took about fifty tablets of Paracetamol. Now the Paracetamol is slowly destroying his liver and the chances of him surviving are small.

Domenic Chivers is a busy business man, who comes into A&E and says that he has hit his head on a revolving door. There does not seem to be anything wrong with him, but he is sure there must be something wrong – after all he hit his head. Tests, however, show that he is fine and the only thing he is doing is causing trouble, for example by talking into the mobile in the middle of A&E.

Gerry is a homeless woman who comes into reception, all drunk. Gloria checks her and sends her out again, because there is nothing wrong with her. When Gerry gets out she climbs to the top of some things from a building site. Two men that notice this start chasing here away, but when she runs along a brick wall she suddenly falls down from it. Josh and Liz bring her into A&E, but she seems okay, apart from the fact that she does not agree to stay calm for a single second. Also, the staff seems to think she is a nuisance and nothing else. While waiting for her sister Lydia to come to meet her, Gerry manages to fall again, this time from her hospital bed. After the second fall she cannot move anymore and x-rays show that she has broken her neck, probably already from the first fall, but now it only got worse.

All of a sudden, while treating Gerry, Richard falls over, but when Jude asks if he is alright, he explains that he twisted his ankle the day before. However, already earlier during his shift, his leg had been a real pain. Now he goes, in the middle of his shift, to meet his doctor. The doctor says that he has to come to terms with the fact that with his MS he will have some worse days, but after a few days he might again be without any symptoms for months. She also says that he should talk to Mike and explain the situation, but Richard does not want anyone to know about it. So, when he goes back to work and Mike asks if he is alright, he says he has twisted his ankle and then asks for a few days off so that he can do some paper work that needs to be done.

It is the birthday of Ravi Kaash. His mother is a doctor and she has to go to see a patient with suspected meningitis, leaving Ravis alone with his friends and his two grandmothers. The grandmothers are competing over his attention, offering him different kinds of cakes saying that theirs is better than the other ones and constantly bickering with each other, blaming each other for making Ravi ill. Ravi gets tired of them and goes outdoors to watch a bonfire that they have in the garden. All in sudden his clothes catch fire and his grandmothers try to help him, even now arguing over which is the best way to do it. They drive him into A&E by themselves and his burns are treated. He has got third degree burns covering 9-10% of his body and is in extreme pain. However, the accident leads to his grandmothers coming to the conclusion that they should stop disagreeing with each other all the time.

Patients

* Flt Lt Jamie Holmer, severe liver damage after taking a Paracetamol overdose two days before being brought into A&E after passing out in the street

* Geraldine “Gerry” Masters, a homeless woman, is drunk and falls downa few times, eventually breaking her neck

* Domenic Chivers, has hit his head on a revolving door, sure that there must be something wrong with him

* Ravi Kaash, a little boy celebrating his birthday, gets third degree burns

First Scene/words

Some boys are outside hospital, begging for money.

Woman: My cup!

The woman takes back her cup, which the boys have used for begging and start drinking from it. All the boys run away. In the background Kate is watching them, while buygin some white roses for Trevor.

Salesman: Change?

Kate: I’m sorry, thanks. Thanks very much. Bye.

Woman: They’ll last two weeks, then they’ll die.

Last Scene/words

Richard notices that Gerry is crying in her cubicle and he decides to enter.

Gerry: Lydie? Who is it?

Richard walks to Gerry’s bed.

Gerry: Lydie’s gone, hasn’t she? I just wanted a small act of kindness.

Richard still has not said a single word.

Gerry: You think you’ve got it all sorted, don’t you? Your nice cosy little life…

Richard looks into the wall in front of him, tears forming in his eyes.

Notable facts

* Research done by British Medical Journal showed that in the first week after this episode was shown, 17% more people came into A&E with self poisoning than in three weeks before, even though some of those patients who had seen the episode said that the episode made them choose another drug than Paracetamol.

* Kate’s son Nick is played by Kevin Bishop

* Amita Dhiri (Nikshita in Being April) plays Dr Julia Kaash, Ravi’s mother.

Review by Karin.

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