999 Critical Condition sees youngest patient kept awake for brain surgery

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The Channel 5 series has been filmed over the last six months where each episode will take a look at the remarkable life-saving care and the trauma team’s critical decisions.

During the first episode which airs tonight, the series sees 18-year-old Izaac, the youngest patient ever to undergo brain surgery whilst awake.

Izaac’s surgeon must attempt to scrape the tumour that is sitting on Izaac’s brain from the surface, all whilst Izaac is awake and able to see what is going on.

Over the last three years, Izaac has been living with the devastating effects of his grade two brain tumour, and suffering through seizures, loss of speech and numbness down one side of his body.

Despite his daily struggles, Izaac has never given up hope and whilst battling his symptoms he managed to pass his A-Levels with flying colours.

Now in University, Izaac’s operation will go down in history with Neurosurgeon Mr Chan performing an awake craniotomy.

The operation is done by drilling a hole through Izaac’s skull whilst he is sedated, before waking him up from anaesthetic once his brain is exposed.

The reason for Izaac being awake during the surgery is due to the tumour being close to the area of his brain that controls Izaac’s speech.

Throughout the procedure, Mr Chan asks Izaac a number of questions so that he and his team can use electrical stimulation to map out the “dangerous” areas on the brain.

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If Mr Chan or the team notice when Izaac’s speech is affected, he knows to avoid these areas when removing the tumour.

The two-hour procedure leaves the fate of Izaac’s life in the balance as one wrong move could leave his speech compromised for life.

As with any life-changing operation, things can go wrong at any point, which is what happens during Izaac’s operation when he begins to become distressed and has a seizure whilst his brain is still exposed.

Mr Chan is left with a dilemma of whether he should continue, which risks lifelong complications to his patient or wait it out and hope that this seizure passes.

Also in the episode, 26-year-old Tino is rushed into hospital after a car crash and is suffering from a potentially life-threatening aortic tear, which if left untreated, could burst.

Having fallen backwards as he attempted to go up a shopping centre escalator, Frank impaled his head on the metal step and was dragged feet first up the escalator.

Whilst Mohan is rushed in gasping for air during a potentially catastrophic asthma attack. Fearing that the lack of oxygen will have devastating consequences, Trauma Team Leader Raj springs into action before his patient’s lack of oxygen causes his heart to stop.

999: Critical Condition airs Wednesday from 9pm on Channel 5.

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