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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Paddington survivors 'still suffering'
Paddington rail crash
The crash happened on 5 October 1999
It is one year since two commuter trains crashed outside London's Paddington railway station killing 31 people and injuring 400.

Many of those who survived suffered severe and life threatening injuries. One year on many are still undergoing treatment.

All are happy to be alive, but for some, memories of medical treatment are worse than memories of the crash itself.

Most suffered severe burns and needed months of intensive therapy and specialist care.

Colin Field was travelling from London to Slough on the morning of 5 October 1999.

As a result of the crash, he sustained burns over much of his body and doctors had told his family that he was unlikely to survive the ordeal.

Colin Field
Colin Field was not expected to live
He did. But at a cost. Because of his burns, Mr Field needed to have his dressings changed every other day. He likens the removal of these dressings to being skinned alive.

"Memories of the treatment are worse than memories of the accident itself.

"Having the dressings removed was as near as I could imagine to being skinned alive because the actual dressings just stuck to what was effectively raw flesh.

"The crash has devastated my life. It is nowhere near what it used to be."

Pain and agony

Keith Stiles sustained 70% burns over his body. He contracted septicaemia and pneumonia and at one stage his wife began to arrange the funeral.

But Keith pulled through. "I had no doubt I would survive. I don't know why, I just knew I would survive," he said.

Keith has undergone 40 skin grafts, where skin is removed from one part of the body to cover another. He too had endured months of pain and agony.

On one occasion, he broke down unable to take it anymore.

"I could see the flesh through the arms. If you imagine the pain that goes with that, it's extremely painful when they change the bandages."

"I remember on one particular occasion when I just broke down. I couldn't take the pain anymore."

Keith Stiles
Keith Stiles had 70% burns
One year on, another victim Michael Adams remains in hospital. He moved from the US to England to take up a job.

Four months later he was in Charing Cross Hospital in London as one of the most seriously injured passengers in the rail crash. He was unable to move or talk for months.

He has now been transferred back home to the US. He is severely paralysed and, according to his doctors, anything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

He undergoes painful therapy on a daily basis in an effort to help regain the use of his limbs. Doctors say his chances of walking again are slim.

But Michael is adamant. "My life will never be the same again. A good day is when I do not feel pain. But I'm determined that some day I'm going to get up and walk."


For others, the physical scars have healed but the psychological scars remain raw.

Majella Lyons, was the last passenger to be rescued alive for the debris of the rail crash. She suffers from anxiety and experiences regular nightmares about the incident.

But she like the other survivors are determined to continue their fight.

None of their lives will be the same again but all share a determination to overcome their problems and struggle through the pain.

Their stories are included in Disaster at Paddington to be screened on BBC One at 22:50BST on 3 October.

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