Terror in London: Horrific injuries leave six fighting for life

DOCTORS treating the victims of the Soho pub bombing said the "devastating" injuries were the worst they had ever seen and that some of the men may not survive. Three have already died.

Six men were fighting for their lives yesterday and another 12 were undergoing treatment for serious burns and shrapnel injuries from the crude but deadly device. Three underwent leg amputations.

Professor Gus McGrouther, a consultant plastic surgeon at University College and Middlesex Hospitals, said five young men, all of whom remained unconscious, were so badly injured that staff had been unable to identify them. There was still a very serious danger that some would lose their lives.

The worst injured would certainly be mutilated for the rest of their lives and would need months of repeated surgery to recover. "They are not going to get better in a week or a month. They are going to have scarring and great mutilation for life."

The bombing had to be stopped, he added. "It is a terribly evil thing to let off a bomb which contained fragments of particles in a confined space. That is quite simply an attempt to maim, disfigure and kill, not a political act. These people's lives have been ruined."

Hospital staff said the kind of injuries they were seeing were rare in civilian life and even worse than some of those suffered by victims of the Birmingham pub bombings and the King's Cross fire.

"Handfuls" of glass, nails and fragments of metal had been removed from wounds, and Prof McGrouther said the device must have been packed with sharp debris in a manner that was prohibited by the military worldwide. "Even in war times, these sort of injuries are outlawed," he said.

The hospitals made urgent appeals for blood donors after using thousands of units of blood while operating on the bomb victims.

Two patients remained in intensive care at UCH. Another two were in intensive care at the Middlesex Hospital and a further two at St Thomas's, which was also treating another five of the injured.

Three men with minor burns and cuts were treated at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and a burns victim was at the Chelsea and Westminster. Another four men with serious burns were at St Andrew's, Broomfield, Essex, and the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, Sussex.

When some of the men were admitted, it was impossible to establish their identities and they were simply given numbers. All were "youngish fit men" and one was thought to be Italian.

The grief-stricken friends and families of the most seriously injured men at the hospitals were being counselled by police last night, taking the pressure off hospital staff.

A man whose 28-year-old friend was last night in intensive care at UCH, after his left leg was amputated above the knee, spoke of his incomprehension at what the bombers had done. "I just feel sheer disbelief - it seems an insane action," said the man, who did not want to be named. "I don't know where all that hatred comes from."

His friend, who worked in catering, was under heavy sedation. "He can't give a reaction, but the nurse said he would be able to hear me so I am just talking to him," said the man. "We just have to wait and see what happens - there's nothing else we can do."

Two hundred extra staff, including doctors from the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London, were drafted in to UCH to help the injured, while an extra 50 were on duty at St Thomas's.

A UCH spokesman said that the staff, who expected to continue working all weekend, had been very shaken by what they had witnessed, despite training to deal with such incidents.

Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, arrived at UCH during the afternoon to meet staff, and later went on to St Thomas's accident and emergency department to visit some of the victims.

He paid tribute to the staff. "I would first like to emphasise my huge admiration for the police, the ambulances and the fire service who attended the scene and the medics, nurses and other staff of the UCH and other hospitals.

"They have all responded magnificently to what was a desperate and terrible situation."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

    £18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'