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Viewers left ‘sobbing’ by patients’ stories on Hospital last night

Viewers are left ‘sobbing’ by hard-hitting NHS documentary featuring ‘incredible’ medical staff whose skills ‘are beyond comprehension’

  • Last night’s episode featured The Walton Centre brain unit in Liverpool 
  • Sophie, 22, cannot breathe on her own because of a brain swelling last year
  • Tom, 18, has memory loss from a car crash and forgets he has brain damage
  • Viewers expressed their admiration for the NHS staff and sympathy for patients 

Viewers were left shedding tears and dishing out praise for the NHS after last night’s episode of Hospital on BBC Two.

This week featured the emotional stories of Sophie, 22, and Tom, 18, both of whom have been stuck in Liverpool’s Walton Centre after sustaining severe brain injuries. 

And it followed the work of ‘incredible’ staff in the centre, which cares for patients who have suffered life-changing brain and spinal damage. 

People watching the show took to Twitter to express their admiration for staff working in the centre and remark on Sophie and Tom’s ‘sad’ and ‘inspiring’ stories. 

Medics working at the Walton Centre were lauded as ‘heroes’ and one viewer said their skills are ‘beyond anything I can comprehend’. 

Sophie, 22, was one of the patients featuring on last night’s programme because she was left unable to breathe on her own after she developed swelling on her brain stem last year

Tom, 18, suffers from short-term memory loss because he sustained serious head injuries when he was thrown from the window of his car in a crash – he regularly forgets he has brain damage

Sophie and Tom were unable to leave the centre because there was nowhere to send them for the ongoing care they needed.

Sophie suffered inflammation in her brain stem in January last year, which left her unable to breathe on her own.

She has mostly recovered – initially not able to move her eyes or swallow after her illness – but still needs 24-hour care and a ventilator in case she stops breathing.

The Walton Centre has struggled to find funding for at-home care for Sophie, so she has been left living in the unit for an entire year.

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Viewers said they were left in tears by her ‘sad’ story but also called her ‘inspirational’ as she continued her recovery, having therapy to get her voice back after a tracheotomy.

Ian Wildgust tweeted: ‘Sophie on #Hospital how inspirational is she? Amazing!’

Twitter user Kerry added: ‘Actually sobbing watching #Sophie on #Hospital … so sad’.

Jackie Wilcock said: ‘What an amazing and beautiful young woman Sophie is. Never complained and is an inspiration’.  

And Marina Sans Bateaux tweeted: ‘I am in awe and full of admiration for the medical staff. Sophie’s story is making me silently count my blessings and wish for things to improve for her.’ 

Sophie had herself tweeted before the programme aired, saying she couldn’t wait for people to see how  ‘truly amazing’ staff at the centre are.

Ian Wildgust was among many Twitter users commenting on how ‘inspiring’ Sophie’s story was

Twitter user Kerry said she was left ‘actually sobbing’ by Sophie’s story, which gave an insight into her life after she suffered a traumatic swelling on the brain in January last year

Jackie Wilcock added ‘what an amazing and beautiful young woman Sophie is’ – Sophie, 22, lost the ability to breathe unassisted, move her eyes or swallow when she became ill last year

Marina Sans Bateaux said she hopes Sophie’s condition will improve, adding she was ‘full of awe and admiration for the medical staff’ at the Walton Centre

Sophie had herself tweeted before the programme was shown, saying she ‘can’t wait for everyone to see how amazing the staff at the Walton Neuro Centre are’

Another patient on the programme, Tom, was suffering from short-term memory loss after a car crash left him with serious head injuries.

As a result he couldn’t remember that he had brain damage and repeatedly tried to leave the hospital without being discharged.

Staff had to keep him in the centre for his own safety, something which he regularly forgot and was angered by. 

Viewers sympathised with the frustrated teenager, with many saying they felt sorry for him and remarking on his joy when he was finally allowed to leave The Walton.

Twitter user Sara said: ‘I feel sorry for Tom. You can tell he’s not the person who he was before just from that short clip. 

‘That must be devastating for him, especially at such a young age.’

Sara, alongside other Twitter users, said she felt sorry for Tom, who suffered from a devastating brain injury when he was thrown from his car window in a crash

Tom, who now has short-term memory loss and doesn’t remember that he has brain damage, ‘seems absolutely lovely’, according to Amanda Smith 

Amanda Smith added: ‘Tom seems absolutely lovely after a serious brain injury. I can only imagine how lovely he was before the accident. 

‘So happy he got to go to a rehab near his family. Hope it does the trick!’

Most people watching the programme tweeted their support for the NHS and its ‘amazing’ and ‘inspiring’ staff.

The British DJ Anton Powers tweeted: ‘This #Hospital programme has got me in bits. 

‘All the staff and patients are absolute [heroes]. I have nothing but respect and admiration for them all’.

Most people tweeting about Hospital were expressing their admiration for the NHS staff at the Walton Centre and across the country more generally – Claire Brown said: ‘The medical staff are absolutely incredible, their skills are beyond anything I can comprehend’

Jon Bolger said the BBC Two documentary was ‘A wonderful reminder how awesome the @NHSuk is’

Anton Powers, a British DJ, said the programme had him ‘in bits’, adding he had ‘nothing but respect & admiration’ for the NHS staff

A Twitter user called Sarah, who claims to be a patient of The Walton Centre herself, said she was ‘proud’ to be treated by the staff there and was ‘forever grateful’ for their help

Jon Bolger said: ‘A wonderful reminder how awesome the @NHSuk is.’

And Claire Brown added: ‘Watching #Hospital on BBC Two now is shocking yet inspiring. The medical staff are absolutely incredible, their skills are beyond anything I can comprehend’.

One woman claiming to be a patient of the Walton Centre herself tweeted: ‘I’m proud to be a patient of The Walton Centre. 

‘The staff provide the best possible care for patients even in the most difficult circumstances of the NHS crisis. I’m forever grateful’.   

Hospital continues on BBC Two at 9pm next Thursday, January 24.


Viewers watching BBC’s Hospital last week, as well as being outraged by the state of a deteriorating hospital, had an outpouring of emotion for a three-year-old boy in the nearby Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Charlie was having advanced brain surgery to try and remove an aggressive tumour.

Clips showed paediatric neurosurgeon Conor Mallucci explaining to Charlie’s parents, John and Nici, that their son’s cancer was spreading fast and he needed to operate quickly.

Three-year-old Charlie had high-risk brain surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to remove a tumour so he could have proton beam therapy in Germany

Charlie’s surgery, to remove a rare form of brain cancer called an ependymoma was ultimately a success and meant he qualified for the NHS to send him to Germany to have pioneering and potentially life-saving proton beam therapy.

Viewers admitted to welling up while watching his story and the NHS has confirmed he has been recovering well since the documentary was filmed.

ITV journalist Elaine Willcox said she was ‘sobbing at Charlie’s story’, echoing the emotions of many viewers who were delighted to see his surgery was a success

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