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Innocents      TV PG
Airing Monday, May 6, 2002, on PBS
(Check local listings.)

Innocents is a powerful and absorbing true story of ill children, desperate parents, and incompetent medical care based on the recent notorious Bristol Royal Infirmary scandal.

Senior surgeon James Wisheart and his affable junior colleague, surgeon Janarda Dhasmana, specialize in repairing severe congenital heart defects in children. These cases, once usually fatal, are now correctable -- as long as surgeons know what they're doing.

But anesthesiologist Steve Bolsin (Aden Gillett) suspects that something is seriously wrong. He alerts his superiors and is first ignored, then shunned, and finally driven out altogether. Meanwhile Wisheart (Tim Pigott-Smith) and Dhasmana (Madhav Sharma) continue to lure parents by claiming excellent results. The unfortunate reality is that their patients are dying at abnormally high rates.

Still, they keep operating.

Riding an emotional roller coaster and seriously underinformed, the children's parents are alarmed by the shoddy hospital facilities, inadequate staffing, unhygienic post-operative care, and, in one case, ominous signs that are casually dismissed by nurses and doctors.

Finally, the unacceptable deaths can no longer be denied, and an official inquiry is launched. Innocents is a heartbreaking story tracking the ravages of human error and accountability.

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