Surgeons: At the Edge of Life

The Pioneers

Series 1 - Episode 3 The Pioneers



“Today’s research is tomorrow’s standard of care,” says Hilary Fanning, director of research development at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Even so, it means patients must undergo treatment they don’t have to have or that may not work.

William is taking part in an experimental prostate cancer gene-therapy trial; Paul is having a hearing aid implanted deep inside his skull; Connie is having a liver transplant using a donated organ that would previously have been rejected as unsuitable but which, after a stint in a “perfusion” machine, should function normally.

All are a gamble but if successful, thousands of people will benefit in the future.


The final episode of the documentary about life in the surgical unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham follows medical staff and patients venturing into uncharted territory with clinical trials. Surgeons Richard Laing and Thamara Perera are part of a team attempting a new kind of liver transplant, while there are also pioneering treatments for prostate cancer and profound hearing loss. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Jo Hughes
Executive Producer Simon Kerfoot
Executive Producer Richard Bond
Series Director Jamie Seal
Series Producer Jamie Seal