By Bill Kirk
---- — LAWRENCE — As anyone living in the Merrimack Valley knows, Lawrence General Hospital can be a busy place. Between highway accidents, shootings, drug overdoses and the occasional baby being born in a taxi, the doctors, nurses and staff at one of the biggest hospitals in the region are always doing something unusual, if not downright, well, bizarre.
Soon, everyone will know about the wacky world of emergency medicine at LGH, thanks to a so-called “medical docu-series” filmed over the winter at the hospital, focusing on some of the strangest cases the hospital encounters on a daily basis.
“Bizarre ER,” as the show is called, begins airing July 6 at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Fit & Health channel.
Over the winter, camera crews followed employees at Lawrence General as they went through their daily routines. Armed with release forms so that patients could give permission to be filmed, production crews captured some of the more “compelling, fascinating and downright strange cases of amazing medical survival” that took place over a two-month period.
Each 30-minute episode of “Bizarre ER” follows several patients facing an unusual injury, from the moment they walk through the doors of the emergency room. Viewers will join patients through the process of diagnosis, treatment and, ultimately, discharge from the hospital.
The circumstances which caused these patients’ peculiar injuries are often funny, and are reconstructed with graphics and animation. From body-piercings gone awry to an eye glued shut, “Bizarre ER” brings viewers into the lighter side of the emergency room.
“We are thrilled that Discovery Channel and Maverick TV selected our high-efficiency Emergency Center for the series,” said Dianne Anderson, president and CEO of the hospital. “Viewers around the globe will soon be witness to the depth and breadth of the care provided at Lawrence General, as well as the compassion and capabilities of our amazing clinical team.”
George Kondylis, chief of emergency medicine, added, “We are excited to be able to offer viewers a glimpse into the care delivered each and every day at Lawrence General Hospital.”
Mark Downie, executive producer of the show and Head of Factual for Maverick TV, the company producing the series, said he was “amazed at the professionalism, capabilities, efficiency and overall calmness of Lawrence General’s trauma staff, and it was an honor to work with them.
“We are excited that worldwide, viewer access to ‘Bizarre ER’ will top 1 billion individuals, our show’s widest spread yet. The series is already airing in Norway and Bulgaria and is rated in the top 10 in both countries.”
The program is narrated by singer and actor John Barrowman.
This marks the season premiere of the fifth season of “Bizarre ER” and the first time the medical documentary series has filmed at a U.S. hospital.
The Emergency Department-based observational documentary series has been an extremely highly-rated BBC Series in the United Kingdom.
In addition to Lawrence General, the series will also showcase Bradford Royal Infirmary in England.
The show is made by the same people who make TV’s Embarrassing Bodies, Children’s Hospital, Trauma, and Born too Soon.
At Lawrence General, filming began Oct. 1 last year and continued through mid-December.
Two production crews, working in shifts, filmed between the hours of 2 p.m. and 12 midnight, Sunday through Thursday.