Coronation Street calls on neurosurgeon Paul May

Soap fans gripped by a Coronation Street storyline which featured a horrific brain injury after a dramatic car crash can thank The Walton Centre for its realistic portrayal.

A family feud boiled over and climaxed with a car accident which left character Nick Tilsley in a coma and needing life-saving brain surgery. He has since regained consciousness and is slowly learning to cope with his extensive injuries and gruelling rehabilitation.

Producers of the ever-popular and long-running ITV programme contacted the Trust’s clinical director of Neurosurgery, Paul May, to help make the story as realistic as possible.

Paul, a self-confessed fan of the series, said: “It was very important to portray this story accurately and I felt it was both my responsibility and The Walton Centre’s to make sure that it was realistic and truthful to educate the public about the significant distress and long term damage that a head injury can cause.

“I was involved meeting the writers and researchers and showing them around the Trust, describing the nature and effects of serious head injury as well as describing the brain surgery itself.

“I also met with their makeup artists and set designers; helping them with medical dialogue and, working with the charity, to help them understand the medium to long term effects of a brain injury.”

In the soap, character David Platt causes a crash to get back at his brother Nick and end a family feud. The pair were involved in a collision with a lorry leaving Nick in a coma.

So far, viewers have seen Nick – who was expected to die from his injuries –come out of the coma and he has started his rehabilitation with more battles ahead.

Sarah Green, Serious Brain Injury Solicitor at Fletchers in Southport and Preston, and also Director and Trustee of Headway Preston and Chorley, has also contributed to the script and storyline.

She said: “I have done a lot of work with Mr May, both in my capacity as a solicitor on the medico-legal side but also through Headway Preston and Chorley where Paul has spoken at our information evenings.

“Due to my brain injury specialism and knowledge of the effects of brain injury and local neuro rehabilitation provision in the North West, Paul approached me to assist the script writers with the post-discharge storyline and in particular the social and emotional effects on both the individual and family members following a serious brain injury.”

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