A hard-hitting NHS documentary showed a critically-ill man with barely ten minutes to live rushed in for surgery without saying goodbye to his family.
David, 74, was on the brink of death due to a burst aneurysm in his stomach when he was rushed to The Royal Hospital in Liverpool.
The condition, which mainly affects men over 65, often shows no symptoms until it is too late, causing catastrophic internal bleeding.
There was no time to spare for the father-of-three, and his family were barred from seeing him before he went under the knife.
To add to the chaos, 11 of the 12 operating theatres at The Royal were shut for the day because a major merging operation was underway with another hospital in the city.
David, whose second name has not been revealed, was one of the very few squeezed into the busy schedule because his survival odds were so low.
After making it through the procedure, doctors warned David his condition was likely a result of smoking cigarettes - which he admitted made him feel 'stupid'.
The NHS says that eight in every 10 people who have a burst abdominal aortic aneurysm either die before arriving at hospital or during surgery.
Free screening is offered to men when they turn 65. But one in five men fail to go.
A hard-hitting NHS documentary airing tonight shows how a critically-ill man with barely ten minutes to live rushed in for surgery without saying goodbye to his family. David, 74, (pictured) was on the brink of death due to a burst aneurysm in his stomach
There was no time to spare for David's family to see him before he was given anaesthesia. He went under the knife in emergency circumstances (pictured)
To add to the chaos, 11 of the 12 operating theatres at The Royal were shut for the day because a major merging operation was underway with another hospital in the city
Last night's episode was the first of the fifth series of BBC Two's Hospital, telling the emotional stories of NHS patients.
The award-winning programme follows day-to day-life of six NHS Trusts across Liverpool, with a catchment area covering more than 2.5million people.
Two hospitals are being merged, involving equipment being transferred from The Royal Liverpool five miles across the city to Aintree University Hospital.
The big moving day had been planned for six months, and had never been done before.
It came at a time when both hospitals were at full capacity during the winter months. A&E was over-flowing and emergencies were still arriving needing life-saving surgery.
As part of the moving strategy, operating theatres at The Royal were closed for 24 hours, affecting around 40-50 patients that day.
One theatre stayed open for urgent operations - which is where David arrived with just a 50/50 chance of survival.
David, a cab driver, had been suffering with abdominal pains - a sign of an enlarging or bursting abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
An AAA is a bulge in the main blood vessel, called the aorta, that runs from the heart, through the chest and to the stomach.
It grows slowly and if not spotted early on, can be fatal. Often likened by doctors to 'a blowout in a car tyre', it causes lethal internal bleeding within minutes.
As David is wheeled into surgery, he is told there is no time to waste. Bringing family members in would only add to the chaos.
As David is wheeled into surgery, he is told there is no time to waste (pictured). Bringing family members in would only add to the chaos, and he is given anaesthesia
David said: 'They said if I had come in 25 minutes later I probably wouldn't have made it'
People at a higher risk of getting an abdominal aortic