7/7 doctor 'injured in Tube incident days earlier'
A doctor went into the London Underground after the 7/7 bombings despite suffering an electric shock at the same station eight days earlier, the inquest into the attacks heard today.
Dr Roderick Mackenzie was in charge of the medical response to the blast on a Piccadilly Line train between King's Cross and Russell Square stations at 8.50am on July 7 2005.
More than an hour after the attack, emergency service commanders on the surface still did not know how many people were killed or injured and exactly where it took place, the hearing was told.
As a result Dr Mackenzie descended into the Tube tunnel beneath King's Cross to see for himself what had happened so he could report back.
The inquest heard this was only a few days after he was injured responding to another incident on the Underground.
"I was electrocuted under a train on the Piccadilly Line on June 29, roughly 25 minutes after the traction current had been confirmed as off, in the process of rescuing an injured person," the doctor said.
"That incident really emphasises the danger that is faced by emergency services personnel working on the Underground system in general.
"The current was in that incident re-energised and myself and a paramedic were electrocuted."
Dr Mackenzie, who in 2005 was seconded to London's Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (Hems), arrived at King's Cross at 9.46am with very little knowledge about what had happened.
He sent a fellow Hems doctor and a paramedic down to the Underground while he tried to find out more from the other emergency services.
"It became very clear very quickly that there was no information," he said.
"There was no real understanding about the nature of this incident or the number or type of casualties, or indeed of its physical location.
"And I had no information back at all either from the ambulance crews who had deployed, or indeed I had never seen the fire service return, and my own team had not returned.
"I was working blind, as it were."
Teenage suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay killed himself and 26 other people in the King's Cross bombing, the deadliest of the four attacks on London's public transport network that day.
Dr Mackenzie told the inquest that he did not even know whether the incident was in the Underground or the mainline station when he reached King's Cross.
Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, asked him: "In hindsight, were you surprised that an hour after the actual explosion, there was so little information available to you as a Hems team arriving at the scene to help?"
He answered: "In hindsight I am surprised. At the time there was a great deal of confusion around the nature and time of all of the incidents."
The doctor said he was "concerned" but "not necessarily surprised" that he saw only one ambulance on arrival at the station.
Dr Mackenzie told the inquest he became worried about his Hems colleagues when they did not return from the Underground, fearing further bombs could have been planted to target the emergency services.
The doctor said it became clear that he was "essentially performing no useful function at all as a medical incident officer" because he knew nothing about what had happened.
So he decided to go down to the Tube, find his team, discover what was going on and report back to the scene commanders from the other emergency services.
Dr Mackenzie said there was "a high level of confusion" above ground but not on the train.
"I had a real sense that there was a team working there who were actually managing in terms of medical operations," he said.
The coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, told him: "If alerted in time and given the right information, I am sure Hems makes a significant contribution to saving lives at a major incident."
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