Siege Doctors, BBC2
In early 1994 I was making a documentary about a new hospital Trauma unit in Stoke-on-Trent with emergency specialist Dr. Tony Redmond. He was in the early stages of planning to take NHS medics into the besieged city of Sarajevo during the Balkans war. I wrote a single page proposal to make a series following his teams as they volunteered to help in the two main hospitals of the city and sent it to the controller of BBC2. Two weeks later I was in flak jacket and helmet speeding down Sniper Alley into the devastated city of Sarajevo accompanying Tony on a recce trip. Despite a ceasefire the sights and sounds of war were all around us. Dusk was always punctuated by a fierce firefight, tracer canon arcing into the ruins of tall buildings duet-ting with the chatter of Kalashnikov machine guns.
The hospitals of Sarajevo were short of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, and supplies. Many of the staff had been killed or fled and as the city was surrounded vital medical supplies had run out. For Tony’s volunteer teams things become more dangerous as hot summer gave way to autumn and the ceasefire ended.
* Please be aware there are some distressing scenes in all the episodes.