Friday, 27 September 2013

TV News Cameraman And Vascular Veracity.

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Filming news stories about the National Health Service usually entails stories of waste, overwork, too little money and not enough nurses who look like a young, giggly Barbara Windsor. Whilst those stories will remain a staple for local and national TV news, it is good to occasionally see the other side of the NHS.

NHS Surgery... complicated.

Not only did I get to witness the other side, I also witnessed the inside of an operating theatre at Reading General Hospital, and more specifically, the inside of a Gentleman's left kidney. Expecting a slice fest of cutting, stitching and the flow of warm blood I asked if I needed to 'gown up..' No need.


This was the cutting edge of modern operating techniques. No open torso's, throbbing sticky insides or blood flow, just a nick in the groin area and long thin wires inserted into the arteries, inside of which the pioneering surgery, the first of its kind on the NHS in the UK, was to be done. Not only that, the patient was awake and so, thank goodness, was the surgeon.

Inside a man's left kidney... fascinating yet ultimately icky.

I was surrounded by a top notch medical team, computer screens and machines that went 'ping.' To be asking questions of a man whilst the surgeon was playing around the inside of his arteries was a little disconcerting but hey, this is the modern age, and things like this happen. In fact, I do believe that they have the means to flick an amoeba from your duodenum in a trice, whilst you play angry birds on your iPhone.

After 90 minutes or so of tickling his insides it was over, job done. A man's life probably saved by a computer screen and a length of hot wire. I needed a coffee...

"Nurse... Surely something can be done..? Fetch the emergency snack cart. Get me 220 Milligrams of hot java. Stat."

"Get your own coffee..." Came the reply. "And don't call me Shirley."

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.