Sahira Shah is a former Cardiothoracic surgical registrar at Holby City Hospital.
Time at Holby City Hospital
Sahira arrives at Holby City Hospital as a registrar on the cardiothoracic surgery ward, Darwin. Having taken time out from her career to have two children, she is assigned a mentor – a reluctant Jac Naylor, who sees her as a potential rival. It emerges that Sahira took the job at the behest of Director of Surgery Henrik Hanssen, who she worked under at three previous hospitals. Tasked with managing budget cuts, Hanssen is looking to make staff redundancies, and asks Sahira to report to him on the capability of registrar Greg Douglas. Although Greg struggles in an operation, Sahira claims that he is an excellent surgeon. She tells Hanssen that she will not be his spy, and does not want special favours from him in return. Hanssen therefore reneges on his promise to allow Sahira to work flexitime. With a consultant position available, Sahira decides to apply, which pits her against Jac. Greg feels that Sahira is taking liberties by arranging her childcare schedule on duty and delegating patient care to him. He suggests that she is incapable of balancing her personal and professional life, but feels guilty when Sahira subsequently struggles in an operation and is berated by Hanssen. On the day of the consultant interviews, Sahira becomes emotionally involved in a patient's plight and misses her interview slot, so Jac is awarded the position by default. Greg later oversteps Sahira to take the lead on the case of a teenage girl with a rare heart condition. He is devastated when she dies in theatre, and breaks Hanssen's windscreen in a drunken accident. Hanssen issues Greg with a formal warning; Sahira sympathises with him, and when he later makes a medical error, she takes the blame and resultant warning herself.
Dismayed that Sahira would tarnish her previously unblemished record for Greg, Hanssen attempts to revive their previously positive working relationship. He offers to remove the warning from her file, and convinces her to join him in an operation she has never performed before, but is forced to call Greg in to assist when she panics in theatre. The operation is ultimately successful, but an angered Sahira tells Hanssen she is unwilling to be his "special project" any longer. As a result of the hospital's financial difficulties, the cardiothoracic department faces closure. Sahira comes up with an idea for a mobile cardiac unit, which Jac gives her consultant backing to, but double-crosses her by signing a contract with plastic surgeon Michael Spence, whose department is encroaching on Darwin. Worried about her future at Holby, Sahira tells Hanssen that she has been offered a job in a Newcastle hospital. When an official visit goes badly, Hanssen is forced to announce the demise of the cardiothoracic department. Sahira is furious, and goes against Hanssen's instructions by taking on an emergency patient, who she unsuccessfully attempts to conceal in the basement. Aware that he could lose her to Newcastle, Hanssen tells Sahira that although her trauma unit proposal is not in the best interests of the hospital or himself, he cannot let her go.