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7 July inquests: Paramedic voices frustration

Emergency services at Edgware Road station following the 7 July explosions
Image caption Suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan detonated his device near Edgware Road Tube station in 2005

The paramedic who was first on the scene of the Edgware Road bombing on 7 July 2005 has criticised the failure to send more ambulances to the scene.

Graeme Baker helped to save the life of the most seriously injured survivor of the attacks, Danny Biddle.

He said it was "frustrating" to learn after the tragedy that some colleagues stationed nearby were not used.

The inquests into the deaths of the 52 people killed in the attacks are expected to take up to five months.

Mr Baker immediately requested eight more ambulances when he arrived at Edgware Road Tube station.

He told the inquests that help was slow to arrive and available crews at neighbouring ambulance stations in Willesden and Park Royal were not sent at all.

Mr Baker said: "I appreciate... there were four major incidents going on at the same time, it was very difficult.

"But when you hear later that other stations just didn't attend or weren't doing anything, then it was quite frustrating.

"There were plenty of other LAS (London Ambulance Service) resources around that weren't sent to the incident and they could have been."

Lack of radios

Mr Baker accompanied Mr Biddle to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington before returning to the scene.

He told the inquests that by that point he felt there were enough resources to deal with the number of casualties.

Mr Baker also expressed concerns about the lack of radios that worked underground, sufficiently strong painkillers and intravenous fluids suitable for trauma patients.

After the incident, Mr Baker filled in a feedback form listing a series of problems ranging from a lack of leadership to an oxygen cylinder failing.

Image caption The inquests are taking place at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London

Summarising the issues, he wrote: "Need comms systems. Need better analgesia (painkillers). Need correct fluids. When requesting further resources, why didn't we get them?"

The ambulance service now carries stronger painkillers and have radios that work underground, the inquest was told.

Nick Mars, who in 2005 was an emergency medical technician with London Ambulance, accompanied Mr Baker at the scene and warned his control room that there could be as many as 1,000 casualties at Edgware Road, the inquest heard.

He praised the operation to treat wounded passengers on the bombed train.

"Things were running extremely smoothly on the carriage - lots of effective communication and those with the worst injuries were being treated, immobilised and extricated," he said in a statement.

'Working in the dark'

A police officer voiced concerns about problems with lighting in the bombed train, which meant paramedics worked in the dark.

Pc Geoffrey Potter, of British Transport Police, checked the devastated carriage and made detailed notes describing those killed in the blast.

Summarising his witness statement, Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, said: "You raise a number of concerns about lighting.

"You say there was a real lack of torches, you say there was no lighting on the bombed train when you were there, you say that the carriages you were in were dark and paramedics were working in the dark."

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May has lost a legal bid to force the 7 July inquest to hear top-secret evidence behind closed doors.

Earlier this month, coroner Lady Justice Hallett rejected pleas from MI5 and Mrs May to exclude relatives of the bombing victims from certain hearings.

Two High Court judges have now upheld that ruling.

CLICKABLE Find out more about the victims of the Edgware Road bomb attack.

Laura Webb Jonathan Downey Colin William Morley Jennifer Vanda Nicholson Michael Stanley Brewster David Graham Foulkes Laura Webb Jonathan Downey Colin William Morley Jennifer Vanda Nicholson Micheal Stanley Brewster David Graham Foulkes

Laura Webb

Age: 29

Laura Webb

Ms Webb was from Islington in north London and worked as a personal assistant with DDB Europe, an advertising company, based in Paddington. Witness statements indicate that she survived for a short period after the explosion, despite being the second closest to the bomber. A number of passengers tried in vain to save her and to maintain her circulation, with the help of other commuters who shouted instructions.
Read full obituary

Jonathan Downey

Age: 34

Jonathan Downey

Mr Downey lived in Milton Keynes and worked in human resources for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, one of the capital's main councils. He and his wife had taken the same train to Euston before parting. His widow said he "lived life to the full and enjoyed the day for the day".
Read full obituary

Colin William Morley

Age: 52

Colin William Morley

Mr Morley, a married father of three, was a marketing consultant who used his skills to help charities use the strength of their brands for social good. He was found lying near the body of David Foulkes and the evidence suggests that he was killed in the immediate explosion. Mr Morley's wife later wrote that her husband was so dedicated to helping others that he left "a most magical beautiful light" wherever he went.
Read full obituary

Jennifer Vanda Nicholson

Age: 24

Jennifer Vanda Nicholson

Miss Nicholson was standing by the carriage doors and was blown out of the train by the force of the explosion. The talented musician, who commuted daily from Reading, was working for a specialist music publisher when she was killed. Miss Nicholson did not usually take the train she boarded that day. Problems on her usual line led her to take the Circle Line instead. The evidence suggests she was killed instantly.
Read full obituary

Michael Stanley Brewster

Age: 52

Michael Stanley Brewster

Michael Brewster, known as Stan, was married with two children. The senior project engineer for Derbyshire County Council had been in London for a conference. Fellow passengers made considerable efforts to try save him at the scene, but he succumbed to his injuries. Mr Brewster's family spent a week searching London for him, until police confirmed he was one of the victims.
Read full obituary

David Graham Foulkes

Age: 22

David Graham Foulkes

Mr Foulkes, from Oldham, was a media sales manager for the Guardian newspaper, based in Manchester, where he lived with his parents and sister. He was making plans to move in with his girlfriend, Stephanie Reid, and she and his family said he was enjoying life and his career. Mr Foulkes was in London for a meeting with a colleague. The evidence indicates he was killed instantly.
Read full obituary

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