Accessibility tools
cuh logo

TV spotlight falls on life-changing operations

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is world-renowned for undertaking transplants – and at 9pm on BBC Two on Wednesday (1 Feb) viewers will see one of the more remarkable ones.

In this third episode of six produced by Dragonfly Film & TV (a Banijay UK company), surgeons perform a living donor transplant after husband Marcus agrees to give up one of his kidneys to help wife Tracey.

Tracey, 42, has been living with one kidney since her right kidney failed when she was in her twenties due to sustained high blood pressure. A year ago, she was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure in her remaining kidney, so she had to go on daily dialysis or she would die.

The best long-term solution for her is a kidney transplant and amazingly Marcus, 44, is compatible. With 4,500 people in the UK waiting for a kidney, Tracey would otherwise have to wait up to two years for a kidney from a deceased donor.

Professor Mike Nicholson and Mr Jack Martin in theatre
(Left) Professor Mike Nicholson and Mr Jack Martin

The operation to remove the organ from Marcus, by keyhole surgery pioneer Professor Michael Nicholson, will be immediately followed by the operation to transplant it into Tracey by consultant transplant surgeon Miss Irum Amin and clinical lead for transplant surgery, Mr Neil Russell. It will be an all-day surgical marathon.

(L to R) Neil Russell, anaesthetist Tim Baker and Irum Amin
(L to R) Neil Russell, anaesthetist Tim Baker and Irum Amin

Meanwhile, another life-changing operation is being undertaken in different theatre.

Registrar Chih Ying Tan with Mr Constantinos Simillis
(L to R) Registrar Chih Ying Tan with Mr Constantinos Simillis

Colorectal surgeon Mr Constantinos Simillis, with registrar Chih Ying Tan, is trying to help 39-year-old Danny, who has spent more than two decades with a devastating bowel condition.

The father-of-two has had severe Crohn’s since he was a teenager – an inflammatory bowel disease affecting more than 200 thousand people in the UK. Two years ago, his Crohn’s flared up causing his bowel to perforate, resulting in a leak into his abdomen and sepsis, which could have been fatal.

His only option was an ileostomy – where the small bowel is disconnected from the large bowel and brought out of the abdomen through an opening called a stoma, through which waste passes in to a bag.

With his Crohn’s in remission, Danny is now fit enough to have surgery to try to reconnect his small and large bowel, remove his stoma, and allow him to pass waste normally.

But Constantinos will only know for sure if he can reattach Danny’s bowel when the surgery is underway and his bowel can be fully inspected. If he has to have his stoma reinstated, it will be a devastating outcome. However, there is an unexpected challenge…

The series will bring hope to those suffering similar conditions, and is expected to create interest in working for the Trust, which has just announced the opening of three more theatres and a recruitment drive for staff.

CUH medical director, Dr Ashley Shaw said: “The series continues to showcase the excellent work that goes on at this hospital and the advances we are making in theatres and elsewhere to continually improve patient outcomes.”

A webinar is being held on 13 February for anyone interested in working in the new surgical hub. Follow this link for information about the webinar or contact Recruitment Services on 01223 217038.

More information about careers at Addenbrooke’s can he found here.