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Chizzy Akudolu: A survivor of the Grenfell fire said Holby saved him

 

The former Holby star Chizzy Akudolu, who played heart surgeon Mo Effanga for five years, spills the beans on what the role taught her.

1. People always get their medical programmes mixed up

"I wish I had £1 for everyone who's come up to me and said, 'I know who you are - that nurse on Casualty'. They look a bit confused when I say, 'No, I'm that heart surgeon on Holby'."

2. I need to stop diagnosing people

"If I hear somebody coughing, I'll ask them about their lungs. If they tell me a symptom, for instance, 'I coughed up blood', then I'll ask, 'Well, did you cough up blood or did you puke up blood? If you coughed it up, it's from your lungs. If you puked it up, it comes from the stomach'. Then I tell them to go and see a real doctor."

3. I need to stop showing off about the word 'lymphangioleiomyomatosis'

"It's not funny, it's not clever and no-one wants to hear it anymore... What is it? Goodness knows. It's some lung disease, but it's one of those words that has stuck in my head from Holby, and I keep saying it."

4. There will always be somebody who thinks at least one of the actors is really a medic

"I had one woman [fan] who refused to believe that Sacha Levy [Bob Barrett] was not a surgeon in real life. Even when I Googled him, she wasn't having any of it."

5. People learn a lot from medical shows

"Christian Vit [who played consultant Matteo Rossini] and I were at an event and a guy who'd been on the 23rd floor of the Grenfell Tower came up to us. He told us he'd carried his mum down to the ground, and knew about looking for pockets of oxygen from watching one of the Holby programmes. He saw a pocket of oxygen at a door and they managed to gulp in some. It was moving, and I think because the series has a lot of medical advisors and it's taken very seriously by the producers, it's educational as well as entertaining."

6. You have to take it on the chin when people criticise your medical techniques

"I've had people messaging me and saying, 'That's not how you do CPR or chest compressions'. I replied that if we did it for real, we'd break someone's ribs. Michael Thomson [who played nurse Jonny Maconie] teased a new actor on the show by saying, 'Watch out, don't let Chizzy work on you, because she does it for real and has already broken someone's ribs'. He was very nervous until we told him the truth."

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