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Wednesday, October 6, 1999 Published at 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK


Blair praises 'heroism' of medical teams

Tony Blair has praised the efforts of rescue and medical teams

Prime Minister Tony Blair has visited the hospital which helped some of the most seriously injured rail crash victims, and expressed his admiration for the 'extraordinary' efforts of the medical staff.

London Train Crash
A statement from No 10 said Mr and Mrs Blair had made a "private" 45-minute visit to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

"He wanted to thank the emergency services for their extraordinary response to yesterday's appalling tragedy - doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance, police and fire and many others as well as members of the public who have helped.

[ image: Efforts continued throughout Tuesday to get the injured to hospital]
Efforts continued throughout Tuesday to get the injured to hospital
"He spoke to doctors and nurses at the hospital and said they had done a truly heroic job."

Stories about the impressive response of medical teams continue to emerge.

Nurse Sarah Caine helped to set up an emergency field hospital at Sainsbury's supermarket at Ladbroke Grove to deal with 70 passengers using only what she could find on a supermarket shelf.

Sticky labels

She said: "We got Post-it notes from the shelves of the supermarket and we used them to label the most seriously injured patients to prioritise who should be taken to hospital first."

[ image: Sister Rachel Adams: 'we did well']
Sister Rachel Adams: 'we did well'
Another nurse, Sister Rachel Adams, said that the enormity of the disaster was only just beginning to sink in.

She told the BBC: "I think about how such an awful thing could happen, how organised we were, and how it ran like clockwork, and how we came out at the end and thought: 'yes, we did really well.'.

Miss Caine, who works in accident and emergency at St Mary's, said: "The most serious patients had burns to their arms, legs or faces and there were quite a lot of head injuries as well as some bruises.

"A lot of people were just shocked by what they had seen. They were comforting each other and calling family and friends on mobile phones.

"One lady gave her shoes to someone else so she could go home. There was a lot of community spirit and that will stick with me."

The Prime Minister's spokesman said that Tony Blair was determined that a public inquiry would find out what went wrong.

"He also spoke to a number of survivors and repeated that the investigation into the accident would get to the bottom of what happened and must answer the questions that are being legitimately asked," said the spokesman.

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