The tension is already thick in the emergency room at King's College Hospital in London when the lead trauma consultant, a doctor named Malcolm, gets word that a patient who's just been run over by a bus is being transported to the ER by helicopter.
Outliers: Documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of an ER
Intense moments pile up as Malcolm stays calm and focuses on the practical questions: Is his full team assembled? Does everyone have the right gear? Isn't any more information about the victim available?
Meanwhile, all Outliers can think is: What does a bus-accident victim look like?
One of the first scenes in what promises to be an intense new documentary series on the cable channel BBC America focuses on the fate of the bus-crash victim at King's College Hospital. But that victim is not alone.
All told, BBC spent a total of 28 days in one of London's busiest ERs, filming hundreds of patients, families and doctors while lives hung in the balance. The result is a 14-part series called 24 Hours in the ER, with each episode focusing on a specific 24-hour period in the hospital emergency department. (The BBC America premier of the show is Sept. 27.)
If it sounds like a nerve-racking way to spend an evening in front of the tube, well, it is. This ain't Grey's Anatomy. If a preview of the first episode of the show is any guide, the series should find an audience with anyone looking for honest, human portrayals of some of the most dramatic moments in anyone's life.
“Everyone should walk through an emergency room at least once in their life, because it makes you realize what your priorities are,” Dr. Liz Hobbs, chief of staff at the King's College ER, says in one of the show's earliest clips. “It's not the rush-rush-rush and the money-money-money. It's the people you love and the fact that one minute they might be there and one minute they might be gone.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.