Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Manchester bomb victim’s family hit “mistake after mistake”

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Relatives of a Manchester Arena bomb victim who could have survived his injuries with faster medical attention have identified “mistake after mistake”.

John Atkinson, 28, was at Ariana Grande’s concert with a friend on May 22, 2017 when he was struck by the fatal explosion.

The public investigation into the bombing revealed that he did not suffer cardiac arrest an hour and 16 minutes after the explosion because he lost a significant amount of blood while lying in agony on the foyer floor.

Mr. Atkison’s family declined an apology from consulting medic Dan Smith, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) operations commander.

On Thursday, when he presented evidence for the investigation, Mr. Smith said, “I’m really sorry if a decision I made has affected his ability to survive.”

Sir John Saunders, who led the investigation, told the paramedic, “Had he received this treatment early enough when NWAS was on site and you were able to perform it, he would likely have survived. This is not a situation that should happen. “

In a joint statement read by their attorney Richard Scorer, Mr. Atkinson’s relatives said the bombing “should have been prevented primarily through adequate security”.

“To make it worse, John was badly let down by some rescue workers. Mistake after mistake was made and precious time could pass while John needed urgent hospital treatment, ”they added.

“That should never have happened. John had so much to give.

“We heard an apology from Mr. Smith of the North West Ambulance Service last week. We cannot accept this apology. Actions speak louder than words and we are waiting to see what action is taken to ensure that something like this never happens again. “

Mr. Atkinson, a health worker, has been described as a kind, intelligent man who “would light up any room he walked”.

His family said he would become a foster father and be a caring uncle, brother and son who always put others first.

“Since his untimely death, our lives have been shattered as we try to live with the massive void he previously filled,” they added.

The family thanked the people who helped Mr. Atkinson during his injury and said it was “a glimmer of hope in our darkest moments” to hear evidence of friendliness from strangers after the bombing.

The statement praised the “hero” Ronald Blake, a member of the public who held an impromptu tourniquet on Mr. Atkinson’s right leg for up to an hour before paramedics reached him.

Only three paramedics entered the City Room that night – two of them just minutes before Mr. Atkinson was evacuated. He was not examined, assessed or assisted by NWAS personnel at the site of the bombing.

He lost a significant amount of blood from leg injuries when he remained on the foyer floor for 47 minutes before police carried him on a makeshift stretcher to an accident clearance facility at Manchester Victoria Railway Station.

More than 20 minutes passed – with ambulances waiting outside – before Mr Atkinson suffered cardiac arrest at 11:47 p.m. and was finally taken from the arena to the Manchester Royal Infirmary at midnight.

Six minutes later, an entire trauma team of clinicians waited for him to arrive, but they couldn’t save him, and Mr Atkinson was pronounced dead at 12:24 p.m. on May 23, the public inquiry said.

Last week, the exam heard that cardiology expert Dr. Paul Rees said that “alternative management strategies” for Mr. Atkinson included the early application of medical tourniquets to both legs and “rapid transfer to limit the harm during resuscitation and surgery”.

Dr. Rees said, “If it had been possible to get him out of the scene and hand him over to a pre-alerted trauma team with access to extensive blood products before the cardiac arrest, survival might have been possible.”

A panel of pressure wave experts also believed that with timely medical intervention and effective tourniquets on both legs, Mr. Atkinson could have survived.

An initial autopsy revealed that Mr. Atkinson died mainly of blood loss from his leg injuries.

The investigation examines how each of the 22 victims died and whether inadequacies in emergency procedures contributed to their death.

Additional reporting by PA

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