Henrik Love Hanssen (né Lövborg; born 1962/1963) is a consultant general surgery and Holby City Hospital's chief executive officer. He joined the hospital in October 2010 as the new joint director of surgery, serving alongside Connie Beauchamp.
Henrik was born in either 1962 or 1963 (HC: Episode 1059) to Elizabet Hanssen and Anders Lövborg in Sweden. (HC: "Hanssen/Hemingway", Episode 1053) Elizabet was a Danish Jew who fled to Sweden as a nine-year-old during the Holocaust. Anders was the founder of the pharmaceutical company Lovborg Biotek. (HC: "Hanssen/Hemingway")
In the 1970s, not wanting her brother's death to be for nothing, Elizabet convinced Anders to use research data collected by Nazi scientists in the production of Lovborg Biotek products. When the press learned of Anders' actions, he went into hiding, leading Elizabet to believe he was dead and drown herself by walking into the Stockholm waters with stones in her pocket. After his mother's death, Henrik grew to despise Anders, believing that Elizabet was pushed to suicide by feelings of betrayal caused by Anders using the data. At 16, to hide his relation to his father, Henrik assumed Elizabet's maiden name and considered Anders dead. (HC: "Hanssen/Hemingway")
At the age of 14, Henrik attended a boys' school in the United Kingdom. Vulnerable after Elizabet's suicide, he was treated like "an outsider" by his classmates. (HC: Episode 1052, Episode 1053) His teacher, Reyhan Shah, took advantage of his isolation and began grooming Henrik by teaching him about ancient Greek philosophers. (HC: Episode 1056) Reyhan began taking Henrik into his home, and Henrik spent a summer with Reyhan and his daughter Sahira. There, Reyhan told Henrik that he was "beautiful" and that he loved him; Henrik believed Reyhan and felt genuine affection for him, but Reyhan proceeded to rape him. (HC: Episode 1053) At the time, Henrik did not see Reyhan's actions as abuse and credited Reyhan as his role model and "surrogate father". (HC: Episode 1050) However, 18 months after the summer holiday, Henrik attempted suicide. (HC: Episode 1053)
Medical career prior to Holby
When Henrik was promoted to consultant, he was the youngest to do so in the United Kingdom in 25 years. (HC: "Shifts") During his career, he developed an interest in liver disease. Prior to 2011, he served as the director of general surgery at Colchester Royal Infirmary and All Saint's Hospital in Southampton. (HC: "Open Your Heart") He was also largely involved in elevating two hospitals to foundation trust status. (HC: "Shifts")
Transfer to Holby City Hospital
|“||Leaving the past behind is difficult. It can be bewildering — frightening even — but it's also vital. It's what keeps us alive. So we must look to the future; we must move forwards. It isn't going to be easy, but it's time for a change.||„|
|— Henrik's first speech to his new staff. (HC: "Shifts")|
In October 2010, Connie Beauchamp was appointed as Holby City Hospital's new director of surgery, and the Holby City Hospital board decided, following the tenures of Ric Griffin and Michael Spence as joint directors of surgery, that having two directors was beneficial. However, the strategic health authority saw Connie as an "unknown quantity" and issued the hospital with an ultimatum — accept Henrik as their choice for joint director of surgery with Connie Beauchamp and make efficiencies or close half of the hospital's wards and merge them with St James' Hospital.
Ultimately, Henrik was selected, and he and Connie were faced with making at least 5% of the hospital's staff redundant (HC: "Shifts") in order to save around £200,000. Henrik proposed making Ric Griffin redundant, but Connie was vehemently opposed to the idea and wanted to avoid cutting staffing levels. However, Connie eventually conceded that redundancies were essential, and Henrik allowed her to make the final decision on who was let go; she ultimately decided to spare Ric and dismissed six nurses instead. (HC: "The Short Straw")
In November, while Connie was in London visiting her sick father, Henrik carried out operational audits and devised a new discharge policy that would halve the number of used ward beds in order to save money. (HC: "Betrayal", "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year") He also found that Elliot Hope was underperforming; he warned Connie that, if Elliot failed to improve, he would be made redundant. Connie was keen to show Henrik that Elliot was still at the top of his game, but Henrik later learned that Elliot had lied to one of his patients about their child still being alive. (HC: "Betrayal")
On 7 December, Elliot was scheduled to perform a Nuss procedure — a highly expensive operation — but Connie's patience started to wear thin when Elliot refused to discharge a patient named Emily who he deemed as being vulnerable. When Elliot walked out of the Nuss procedure and prioritised Emily when she was readmitted as an emergency, Connie voiced her concerns to Henrik about the effect of Elliot's job on his health and suggested that "the kindest thing to do [would] be to reconsider his position". (HC: "Losing Game") Consequently, Henrik arranged for Elliot to undergo a stress test. (HC: "The Lying Kind")
As a result of the new discharge policies, Connie's father William was discharged (HC: "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year") and readmitted on Christmas Day with a pleural effusion; he was later diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. Later, Henrik confronted Connie after she pressured the family of a patient into agreeing to organ donation and went against protocol; sick of the cuts and redundancies, Connie promptly resigned and warned Henrik that it would have been a "huge" mistake to get rid of Elliot. (HC: "Snow Queens")
Despite Connie's words and resignation, the hospital's consultancy report indicated that additional redundancies were necessary, particularly in consultant salaries, or Holby City would be at risk of being downgraded to a community hospital. Consequently, Henrik was faced with potentially having to make both Ric and Elliot redundant. However, Mark Williams — the hospital's chief executive officer — discovered that the strategic health authority's projections were based on the previous CEO's performance, and the current data painted a much brighter picture of the hospital. In order to spare Ric and Elliot's jobs, Mark decided to resign; the roles of director of surgery and CEO were consolidated, and Henrik was promptly made Mark's successor. (HC: "Don't Go Changing")
Ric Griffin's cancer
On 22 March 2011, Henrik informed Ric that all upper gastrointestinal services were being outsourced to St James' Hospital as a cost-cutting measure; Ric demanded that Henrik reverse his decision, or he would mobilise his staff to undermine him. Ric ultimately decided to defy Henrik and covertly performed an upper GI procedure, culminating in Ric being relegated to an advisory position on Keller. Later that day, after learning that Ric's liver cancer prognosis was worse than he was led to believe, Henrik offered to perform a high-risk hemihepatectomy and potentially save his life. (HC: "Clash of the Titans") While Henrik was confident that he could successfully complete the procedure, Ric was uncomfortable with Henrik being his surgeon, but Ric eventually consented. Despite a series of complications, Henrik managed to successfully removed the entirety of the tumour. (HC: "Second Coming")
Working relationship with Sahira Shah
In February 2011, Sahira Shah — an old friend and colleague of Henrik's — was employed by the hospital to work on Darwin Ward as a registrar. (HC: "Blue Valentine") Not long after her arrival, rumours of Sahira being a "spy" for or romantically involved with Henrik began circulating around the hospital, but Henrik was soon reconsidering his decision to appoint Sahira after she performed unnecessarily-risky beating heart surgery. Sahira managed to persuade Henrik to allow her to stay at Holby City but not share a "special relationship"; Henrik agreed, but he took a less considerate tone towards her request for flexible working and her familial commitments. (HC: "Open Your Heart") On the day of the Darwin consultancy interviews, Henrik was unimpressed when Sahira failed to attend her interview and later withdrew her application after leaving the panel waiting for over an hour. (HC: "Coming Second")
Cardiothoracics merger and the plastics scandal
On 19 April, when Sunil Bhatti, an old friend of Michael Spence and a reknowned plastic surgeon, appeared on AAU with a patient in tow, Henrik agreed to fund a plastics procedure on AAU if Michael managed to bring the Bhatti Clinic to the hospital. Sunil agreed to work with Michael at Holby City, so Henrik asked Michael to outline his plans for a plastics unit to the board. (HC: "Rebound")
On 5 December 2017, Henrik oversaw the transfer of the equipment of the eminent neurosurgeon and close friend John Gaskell to a basement-level wet laboratory after appointing him as the hospital's director of surgical innovation. (HC: "Group Animal - Part One") Later in the day, after Gaskell introduced Henrik, Sacha and Essie to Laszlo Furz, whose motor neuron disease he claimed to have cured, they were informed of a power outage and a gunman on AAU, and Henrik ordered for the hospital to be put on lockdown. Outside the lab, the medics discovered that Jac had been shot in the back, and they were forced to use basic equipment to treat her. Despite Sacha's objections, Henrik supported Gaskell's suggestion of using a haemostatic patch to fix one of Jac's major blood vessels.
As Henrik attempted to have equipment delivered to the basement, Gaskell informed Henrik that Fredrik had been identified as the shooter. Determined to stop his son, Henrik left his colleagues and proceeded to search for Fredrik. On Darwin, Henrik was horrified to discover that Fredrik had shot Ollie in the head as he was operating on David, and Roxanna urged him to stop Fredrik before he could harm anyone else.
On Keller, Henrik managed to prevent Fredrik from breaking into the theatre room where the ward's occupants were hiding and confronted him. Once an armed police unit arrived at the scene, Henrik attempted to negotiate with his son, but Fredrik asserted that he did not want anything from him anymore and loudly declared that he would decide how the situation ended. As the two began sizing each other up, with Fredrik asserting that Henrik was not a part of the hospital's "family" and proclaiming that he was there to "end it", the police shot Fredrik in the chest, instantly killing him. A hysterical Henrik, desperate to save his son, rushed Fredrik into theatre and demanded the lifts be turned back on, but he eventually realised that Fredrik was dead and wept. (HC: "Group Animal - Part Two")
Opening up about his abuse
|“||Henrik: He raped me.
Reyhan: It's not real! Henrik! These memories are false!
Henrik: 45 years ago, he took me into his school. He took me into his home. He said he loved me, and he made me love him. And then he abused me.
|— Henrik tells the police about his abuse at the hands of Reyhan. (HC: Episode 1053)|
In February 2021, Henrik was left shaken when Reyhan was admitted to Keller experiencing a gastrointestinal bleed from a peptic ulcer. Henrik decided against taking Reyhan into theatre and chose to manage the ulcer endoscopically to potentially allow Reyhan to be discharged sooner, but Sahira, who had become Darwin Ward's clinical lead, believed that her father needed immediate surgery and took him into theatre herself. Henrik was eventually convinced to take over from Sahira and managed to stop the bleed, but he was struggled with his trauma throughout. Out of theatre, Henrik informed Reyhan that he had primary sclerosing cholangitis and warned him that the surgery was only a temporary fix. Reyhan expressed his regret at not contacting Henrik sooner after the hospital shooting and claimed that it was an honour to teach Fredrik, but Henrik asserted that he pulled Fredrik out of the school to protect him to Reyhan. Reyhan assured Henrik that he was "always [his] special boy" and reached for his hand, but Henrik pulled it away and suffered a panic attack. (HC: Episode 1048)
The next day, after discovering that she was not a match for Reyhan, Sahira decided to forge his transplant benefit scores to increase his chance of being donated a liver. However, not wanting Sahira to ruin her career, Henrik changed Reyhan's notes himself and had the transplant centre reassess Reyhan's case. (HC: Episode 1049) After Henrik accepted a donor liver, Donna Jackson grew suspicious of Reyhan's inexplicable change in condition and reported Sahira to Max McGerry, believing that she changed Reyhan's scores, and Sahira voluntarily took responsibility. However, Max already knew that Henrik was the culprit, and both he and Sahira were let "off the hook" when the liver arrived. After Reyhan suffered a variceal bleed and was rushed into theatre, a panicking Sahira admitted that Rafi was refusing to allow their children to visit Reyhan because a former male pupil had accused Reyhan of touching him inappropriately. In theatre, Henrik suffered another panic attack while trying to perform the transplant, but he insisted that he could complete the procedure. Afterwards, Reyhan was left in a coma, and Henrik told him while he was unconscious that he was not sure if he tried his hardest to treat him effectively. (HC: Episode 1050)
In March, after Reyhan regained consciousness, Henrik tried to open up to Sahira about his abuse at the hands of her father, but she was preoccupied with combatting the pre-existing allegation. Henrik confronted Reyhan and announced his intention to go public about his abuse, but Reyhan asserted that Henrik was twisting his acts of kindness into "something perverted" and that no one would believe him. After Reyhan was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis, Henrik insisted that he retire from teaching with immediate effect and be put into residential care.
Upon discovering that Sahira's son Abs had been left alone with Reyhan, Henrik ordered Abs to get away from his grandfather. When Sahira confronted Henrik, he explained that he knew Reyhan was a danger to children as he was one of his victims. (HC: Episode 1052) Henrik told Sahira what Reyhan did to him and urged her to believe him, but Sahira refused to and slapped him when he suggested that she ask Abs if Reyhan was grooming him. In an attempt to discredit Henrik, Sahira goaded him into reporting Reyhan to Fletch and the police; to her shock, Henrik told them that Reyhan raped him when he was 14. Reyhan insisted that Henrik's allegations were false, and Abs was adamant that Reyhan never abused him. After Henrik made a formal statement to the police, he discovered that Sahira had resigned to protect her children. (HC: Episode 1053)
When Henrik was appointed as Holby City Hospital's joint director of surgery, his affectless and clinical approach to management provoked resentment from some of his new-found colleagues. Following the death of popular surgeon Linden Cullen, Henrik viewed his funeral as an excuse for some to malinger. (HC: "Shifts") When Henrik was tasked with selecting a consultant for redundancy, he favoured Ric Griffin due to him not practising as a surgeon at that time, despite his idleness being a result of him receiving cancer treatment. (HC: "The Short Straw") He had a tendency to not mince his words and be incredibly scathing towards senior colleagues of his. (HC: "Shifts")
Conversely, outside of professional relationships, Henrik sometimes showed a softer side. For example, sister Donna Jackson warned her niece Mia that Henrik "eats children" and told her to hide from him. However, when Henrik later discovered Mia, he fixed her teddy bear's loose eye. (HC: "Queen's Gambit")
Connie was unaware of the decision to split the role of director of surgery and appoint Henrik as her peer, so she was galled when she found Henrik in her office uninvited. Her feelings of resentment towards Henrik only intensified when he took over the care of one of her patients and harshly criticised her expenditure proposal as being financially unrealistic. (HC: "Shifts") On the orders of the strategic health authority, Connie and Henrik were tasked to save around £200,000 in expenditure. Henrik saw redundancies as a "clear option" and proposed letting go of Ric Griffin, but Connie vehemently opposed the suggestion. Despite fruitlessly searching for alternatives and requesting a delay, Connie conceded that redundancies were the only viable means of meeting hospital budget cuts and volunteered to make the decision. However, instead of making one consultant redundant, she decided to target six nurses. (HC: "The Short Straw")
When Henrik arrived at Holby City Hospital, he accused Michael of attempting to "fleece vulnerable patients" out of their money by encouraging them to opt for treatment on Holby Care. Following the death of consultant Linden Cullen, Michael volunteered to take his place on AAU, (HC: "Shifts") but Henrik immediately took issue with him neglecting his duties on the ward to concentrate on private practice; Michael argued that the revenue generated by Holby Care was helping alleviate hospital budget cuts. However, after Michael failed to diagnose a tumour in his private patient, Henrik pointed out that his mistake would cost the trust more than the revenue the patient's surgery generated. (HC: "The Short Straw")
In November 2010, Michael convinced administrator Sheena Clore to access Henrik's personal files to uncover details about his hospital deficit strategy; she was caught and promptly suspended. (HC: "My No. 1 Fan")
When Henrik and Connie were faced with making redundancies to meet budget cuts, Henrik proposed making Ric redundant due to him not carrying out his surgical duties on the grounds of him receiving cancer treatment; Connie was completely opposed to the idea and ultimately decided to let go of six nurses instead. (HC: "The Short Straw") In November 2010, after Ric treated a young girl who was later admitted with suspected measles, Henrik forced Ric to receive precautionary treatment due to his weakened immune system. After Ric tested negative, he informed Henrik that he had decided to go on sick leave and urged him to spare Keller "if [his] axe [had] to fall". (HC: "Tough, Love")
After making a joke about Henrik while he was in earshot of her, Jac believed that Henrik "hated" her. (HC: "Tough, Love") After Ric Griffin went on sick leave, Jac became Keller's acting consultant. However, the position was not permanent, and Jac was aggrieved at Henrik appointing Keira Balfour as the locum consultant; Jac demanded Mark Williams to interview all of the prospective candidates, including her. Despite describing her as "arrogant, aggressive, stubborn, obstinate and obnoxious", Henrik saw Jac as the more cost-effective candidate and gave her the locum consultant post. Jac was initially delighted, but Michael Spence warned her that her position at the hospital was no longer secure. (HC: "Queen's Gambit")
- When Henrik first arrived at Holby, he earned nicknames such as "The Angel of Death", "Horrid Henrik", "Henrik the Herring" and "Bjorn the Slasher". (HC: "The Short Straw", "Snow Queens")
- He believes the kidneys are the body's most important organs. (HC: "Shifts")
- He detests tomatoes and considers them "the Devil's fruit". (HC: "Tough, Love")
Behind the scenes