Today I've seen one of the most heart-rending documentaries ever.
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children is renowned for its work in saving the lives of young children. This programme tonight, the first in series of three, is called 'Pushing the Boundaries' - and it is extremely difficult to watch. But having started to watch it is impossible NOT to watch.
The surgeons in this dedicated hospital are super-human. I cannot believe how they can carry on working under such pressure, from the parents and from the job itself.
Every age group in children is included. From a 2-day old baby upwards. Some marvellous successes. Some terrible heartbreaking failures too.
One very young girl had a serious vascular problem which would certainly be fatal unless operated on had eight hours on the operating table. The operation to fix her vascular problem was successful. However, her parents were devastated to learn that one of her kidneys had to be removed. Also that she was now brain damaged. And that she was blind as a result of the surgery! But she would live. Later, some weeks later, her sight returned, so it was not all doom and gloom.
A really harrowing case of a 9 year old lad who'd had a heart valve operation a few years ago was again seriously ill. The surgeons decided that a further valve repair was no longer an option. The heart specialists discussed the option of a heart transplant. With the parents and the little boy present.
They explained to the boy that they knew he did not want to have another operation but that he would be very ill if nothing was done. So would he like to have a new heart and be completely better.
"Will it hurt me when you cut my body open?" he asked. "No, it will be painless; you will not feel a thing."
"Where will you get my new heart from?" he asked. Very gently the surgeon explained that it would be given by somebody who had no more need of the heart because they had died from something else. "Well, what will happen to my heart when you take it out?" he continued to ask. Again the specialists explained that parts of his old heart could be used to help somebody else.
Eventually everything was agreed and the transplant went ahead. Two weeks later the young boy died.
The way these doctors deal with these harrowing cases astounds me. They are clearly deeply concerned for the children and parents concerned but they have to make such demanding decisions. I have great respect and admiration for them all, but I could never be strong enough to attempt a tenth of what they do.
Amazing and highly emotional stuff.