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Patrick Davies image

Episode 4 - 17 April 2018

The Intensive Care Unit at Nottingham Children’s Hospital cares for very sick children, a place that can keep them alive with a dedicated team of specialists working to help make them better. It’s the job of Lead Consultant Paediatrician Patrick Davies to balance the ever increasing demands on the Unit: “We’re stretched to breaking point. One patient in, one patient out. There is a queue of patients around the region waiting for our beds”

Lack of children’s intensive care beds is a nationwide problem. Four-year old Esme was rushed to Queens Medical Centre from Hull 80 miles away as her closest intensive care units were full. She was suffering from sepsis, a life threatening reaction to infection where the body attacks its own organs. Patrick and the team must first stabilise her so that her life is out of danger. But the infection forces the blood in her body to her vital organs and the team must now battle to save Esme’s fingers and toes. The same week, a three-year- old boy was rushed to Nottingham from his home 125 miles away suffering from a swollen airway after six different intensive care units turn him away as they have no beds.

22 month-old Amaya had contracted pneumonia. Her situation was extremely grave and her family are told that she may not pull through. This is not Amaya’s first time in intensive care. Born very prematurely at 24 weeks, Amaya has spent 10 of her 22 months in hospital.

Watch the clips:

14-year old Ella needed an intensive care bed to recover from major spinal surgery. She’s been cancelled before due to a lack of beds in the unit and on the day of her re-scheduled operation it was completely full yet again. She waits on the ward, not knowing whether her life changing operation will take place while staff do everything they can to ensure her surgery can go ahead.

Meet the team from Episode 4

Patrick Davies

Patrick Davies image Patrick is a consultant and clinical lead in Paediatric Intensive Care at Nottingham Children's Hospital, part of NUH and based at QMC.

He also has a strong interest in research of all kinds, mainly focusing on practical clinical practice. He is Vice Chair for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Theory and Science written examination.

Our outcomes are very good. Every life is important and death hits us hard but we are able to save 97% of those we care for. We see children who are incredibly sick and you think that they can’t possibly survive. But they do. It is a fantastic thing to see, experience and be part of.

Find out more about the reasons that Patrick enjoys working at NUH here:


Patrick's story in Hospital

Intensive care is often the last resort for very sick children, a place that can keep them alive while doctors work on making them better.  It’s also where children undergoing the most serious surgery come to recover.

It’s the job of Lead Consultant Paediatrician Patrick Davies to balance the ever increasing demands that are made upon the unit and to work as part of the team that is literally saving lives every day. Episode Four shows the incredible skills of the team who fight to save the lives of 22-month old Amaya and four-year old Esme. 

So Intensive care is all about buying time. She gets herself better and we buy her the time to get through this.


Kirstin Starkey image Kirstin Starkey

Kirstin has been a nurse on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for 11 years. She started as a band 5 staff nurse and is now Deputy Sister.

Kirstin’s responsibilities within critical care include not only caring for critically ill and injured children at the bedside but also coordinating 14 critical care beds, while also having the skills and knowledge to potentially increase capacity to 16 should the need arise particularly during winter pressures. This coordination enables her to work closely with the site matron and other PICU’s and surrounding hospitals within the country.

Kirstin can be seen in Episode 4 managing bed pressured as assisting Dr Patrick Davies.

Kirstin said:

 I have cared for many children throughout the years. Some have survived and I still hear about their progress to date but many others haven’t. Paediatric critical care is an emotionally charged environment to work in with huge highs and lows. This is tough at times but we have exceptional team work and support and that’s what makes the difference. I am hugely honoured to work on critical care as part of an award winning team and feel exceptionally privilege over the many years, to have cared for the children and families that I have.