The year started with King’s liver specialists Dr Varuna Aluvihare and Dr Kosh Agarwal featuring on BBC News and the BBC’s Inside Out series, discussing the effects of excessive drinking among young people, and the work of the specialist unit we have here at King’s. Elsewhere, The Guardian featured an article about King’s patient Barry Nicholson, who gave 40% of his liver to his daughter Katherine - the operation was performed here at King’s. Meanwhile, the BBC website reported on specialist surgery being carried out at King’s by oral and maxillofacial surgeon Mr Shaun Matthews for patients with temporomandibular joint disorder.
In February, there was national and international media coverage about craniofacial surgeon Mr Robert Bentley, who rebuilt patient Tim Barter’s face using injections of fat from the patient’s stomach. King’s also featured in a special report on the latest medical breakthrough treatments in the Evening Standard. The ‘glow in the dark’ technique – which helps surgeons tell the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue - was first trialled at King’s by consultant neurosurgeon, Mr Keyoumars Ashkan.
King’s Consultant Neurologist Dr Eli Silber made the headlines in March as the lead doctor for a trial of a new drug which can improve the life of patients with multiple sclerosis. Elsewhere, the Guardian ran an article about the benefits of stem cells obtained from the blood in umbilical cords of newborn babies. King’s midwife Terrie Duffy, who heads up the scheme at King’s, was the focus of the article.
In April, King’s featured in an hour long documentary on Channel 4 called Extreme A&E. The programme showed the way our trauma team and the systems we have put in place treat and care for patients presenting with life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the BBC carried a special report about King’s paediatric surgeon Mr Ashish Desai, who has set up the first specialist bariatric surgery centre at King’s for morbidly obese children.
In May, King’s became one of only two centres in the UK to trial a UK first retinal implant, which involves surgeons implanting a microchip into the eye of patients with degenerative eye diease. Mr Tim Jackson, Consultant Ophthalmologist, led the King’s team who performed the operation on patient Robin Millar. May also saw the debut of series 2 of the award-winning Channel 4 documentary series about the King’s A&E, ’24 Hours in A&E’. The show picked up where the last series left off, with an average of 3m viewers each week, and continues to be one of Channel 4’s most viewed series’.
King’s neurosurgeon Mr Keyoumars Ashkan was again in the headlines, this time for a new trial at King’s that involves using a patient’s brain tumour to develop a personalised vaccine for them. The DCVax vaccine has been shown to delay the return of tumours for up to two years.
After years of anticipation, the Olympic and Paralympic Games arrived in London. King’s A&E staff Briony Sloper and Dr Ed Glucksman were among the lucky ones to carry the torch, having been nominated by colleagues and family members respectively. Also in June, King’s was highlighted in an article in The Guardian about the high quality of stroke care that hospitals in London provide. The article argued that the transformation of London’s stroke services owes much to the specialist units and multi-disciplinary teams within them. King’s is one of eight hyper acute stroke units in London.
A number of our surgical teams were the subject of media coverage in August. The Daily Mail reported on surgery performed by King’s foetal medicine expert Professor Nicolaides, and involving a baby that was given less than a 5% chance of surviving after being diagnosed with a hole in the diaphragm. The BBC reported on an operation carried out by King’s Consultant Neurosurgeon Mr Nick Thomas, who performed unusual surgery on a promising young racing driver, Matthew Biddle. The operation involved removing a tumour the size of an apple via Matthew’s nose.
Another busy month at King’s. King’s Professor Nicolaides published research about a new, less-invasive test for pregnant women which detects Down Syndrome. The test was 99% accurate in a trial of 2,049 expectant mothers. King’s was also ‘on the box’ during September. The Harris Birthright Unit at King’s featured in a Channel 4 documentary called ‘One Born: Twins and Triplets’. Our renal team were the subject of a More4 documentary called ‘My kidney and me’,which followed King’s patient Tom and his decision to donate one of his kidneys altruistically.
October saw a visit to King’s from singer Michelle Heaton, who has been given her an 80 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and a 30 per cent chance of ovarian cancer. She was here to visit the cancer research department at King’s. In local news, one of our midwives Beverley Radley was awarded an ‘Our Hero’ award by the South London Press. Beverley was credited with saving the life of a young mother with postnatal depression.
The BBC reported on news that King’s has become the first hospital in the UK to pioneer the use of rapid CT scans in an attempt to save the lives of seriously injured patients. Some patients are now being taken straight from the ambulance to the CT scanner. The Daily Telegraph also reported on a new operation which can help prolong the lives of long-term dialysis patients. Mr Domenico Valenti, King’s Consultant Vascular Surgeon, implanted an artificial artery into patient Julie Bennett allowing her to be continue dialysis even though her veins were no longer suitable. November also saw the return of former stroke patient George Nightingill to King’s, who suffered a severe stroke five years ago. He came back on the anniversary of his stroke to thank the team at King’s that saved his life.
The Christmas spirit was being felt on the children’s wards at King’s. Members of the emergency services came to the wards to give presents to children spending Christmas at King’s. The London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police all came in with sacks full of presents. There was also a very memorable day for a family from Peckham after they had a baby at 12pm on the 12/12/12 – the last recurring date until the next century.