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Hospitals treat crash victims
Rescue workers at the derailment
Some injured passengers were pulled from the wreckage
A combination of six hospitals have taken those injured in the Selby rail crash.

Pontefract General Infirmary is perhaps the closest to the scene, and hospitals in Wakefield, Hull, Leeds, Doncaster and York are also involved.

It is thought there were approximately 40 "walking wounded" and 30 "moderately injured".

Many of the injured have suffered nasty cuts to the head and arms, or crush injuries to the chest or abdomen, according to an A&E doctor at Pontefract.

However, there are some with serious spinal, head or internal injuries.

A total of more than 40 patients have also been taken both to Pontefract, and Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Number of crash patients sent to each hospital:
St James' Hospital, Leeds - 4
Pontefract General Infirmary - 31
Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield - 12
York District Hospital - 24
Hull Royal Infirmary - 7
Doncaster Royal Infirmary - 3
Nine of these have been admitted into Pinderfields with chest and leg injuries.

At Pontefract, 16 were kept overnight - eight of them with what was described as "serious life threatening" injuries.

Mr Mike Playforth, a consultant in A&E at Pontefract, said that his staff had responded quickly to the alert.

He said: "The call came in at 7.20am and the first patient at 7.28 - but by then, a member of staff who we had called in had already arrived."

He said that there were four patients with "very serious" injuries, one of whom was still undergoing surgery at midday.

Two had been transferred away to other, more specialist units, including one patient with serious spinal and head injuries.

A spokesman there said that these were a mixture of walking wounded patients and those with more serious injuries.

A spokesman for Doncaster Royal Infirmary said that three casualties had so far reached its A&E department.

Firefighters at the scene
Firefighters are using heat-seeking equipment to find survivors
York District Infirmary has taken 24 patients from the crash - Hull has seven.

Jim Crawley, assistant director at Hull, said: "The nature of the injuries are varied and include casualties with chest, head and spinal injuries.

"There are also patients with broken bones."

Four patients were taken to St James' Hospital in Leeds, which has specialist facilities such as a spinal unit.

As the number of casualties rose so did the number of hospitals who will be called to receive them into their accident and emergency departments.

Helicopter help

Dozens of ambulances have ferried the most severely injured to hospital - even the RAF has sent helicopters give assistance in moving the worst cases to bigger hospitals further away.

The number of casualties was reported to be so large that a triage area had to be set up on nearby farmland to assess their level of injury prior to deciding what attention is needed.

Paramedics prioritise the most severely injured
Paramedics prioritise the most severely injured
A spokesman for Yorkshire Fire Service said: "Where people are taken will depend on how seriously injured they are."

Hospitals will prepare for years for a major incident such as a train or a plane crash in their area.

Once every couple of years, hospitals hold simulations, involving actors playing casualties, to make sure their procedures run smoothly.

The emergency services response is mapped out from the moment that the call comes that a major incident has taken place.

Put on standby

When the first emergency services reach the scene - and confirm the scale of the disaster, phone calls are made to nearby hospitals and the ambulance service to put them on standby.

All non-urgent operations are cancelled and the hospital calls staff who are not on duty and asks them to come in.

Accident and emergency departments will be cleared of all but the most seriously ill patients in preparation for accident victims.

Dr Matthew Cooke, a consultant in A&E medicine from Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, is an expert on the delivery of immediate care following a major incident.

There are the most seriously injured, who require medical attention straight away - these are tagged with red labels so that they are prioritised.

They are sent to the nearest hospital.

Prioritising the injured

There are those with moderate injuries, which require swift treatment but are not immediately life threatening - these are tagged with a different colour, and sent further away for treatment so that the first-line hospital is not overloaded.

And there are far greater numbers of people with lesser injuries, the so-called "walking wounded".

"In a train crash, there are a lot of people thrown around, who perhaps have a cut face or broken arm - still very distressing, but not immediately life-threatening."

The BBC's John Thorne
"Doctors are dealing with spinal, chest and head injuries"

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17 Oct 00 | Health
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