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Months of plastic surgery for disaster survivors
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
Ten patients are being treated at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
Ten survivors of the Paddington train disaster are likely to need months of skin grafts, a hospital consultant has said.

London Train Crash
The patients, who are being treated at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, suffered severe burns to their face, neck and hands caused by a "diesel flash" in the immediate moments following the collision on Tuesday.

Two of the patients suffered burns to 50% of their body. They are unconscious on ventilators in intensive care.

The other eight patients, receiving treatment in the specialist burns unit, have burns over 10-20% of their body, mainly their face and hands. They are conscious.

All ten patients are still critically ill, and are vulnerable to infection.

In total 30 survivors of the rail crash are still in hospital, with four still fighting for their lives.

Mr Nick Fauvel, consultant anaesthetist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital's intensive care unit, talked on Thursday about the trauma experienced by the patients under his care.

He said: "There was a sudden explosion of gas which passed very quickly.

"They didn't have time to inhale it significantly before the flash dissipated. Fortunately there was no damage to their lungs although there was enough heat in that diesel flash to give them very significant burns."

Mr Fauvel said none of the patients looked likely to lose their eyesight or limbs but added that all would require significant plastic surgery for many months to come.

Already undergone surgery

The eight men and two women being treated at Chelsea and Westminster have already undergone surgery.

Mr Fauvel said: "It is likely that the majority will require further cosmetic treatment and that treatment may take over a year for some.

"If you have got over 50% of your body burnt then you are going to need treatment for some time."

Some of the victims had suffered burns so severe that the full thickness of the skin had been burnt away.

But despite the horrific injuries he said that the eight patients who were conscious remained positive.

He said: "My observation of the psychological response of these patients is that they have all shown remarkable fortitude and courage."

But he warned that the mental scarring they suffered in the horrific crash could surface later.

"It is quite likely that a proportion of these patients will, as they realise how fortunate they have been, develop some psychological problems.

"A few may even suffer post-traumatic stress which can include anxiety, nightmares and panic."

One more man was being treated at the central London hospital for abdominal injuries on a general ward. Mr Fauvel said it was anticipated that he would be discharged by the end of the week.

Survivors in London hospitals

The other injured survivors are at hospitals throughout the capital.

At St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, two patients are both critical in the intensive care unit. A further seven were being treated on general wards.

Five survivors are being treated at Charing Cross Hospital, two of them in intensive care, but an NHS spokesman said their conditions are no longer critical.

At the Central Middlesex Hospital, one patient is in intensive care in a non-critical state and two other survivors are receiving treatment on general wards.

At University College Hospital, London, one patient is receiving intensive care treatment but is not critical, and at Broomfield in Essex, a specialist burns hospital, one patient is said to be in a serious condition.

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