Did hospital do enough to revive Hillsborough victims?

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Hillsborough disaster victims rushed to the Northern General Hospital were not treated by doctors and were instead left in a temporary mortuary before a medic checked if they were dead, according to new evidence.

The claims are made in a witness statement by a doctor on duty on the day of the tragedy, and released by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

James Wardrope, the consultant in charge of the hospital’s accident and emergency department, said that initially ‘patients with no cardiac output who were having active cardio-pulmonary resuscitation had been sent to the resuscitation room to try to re-start the heart’.

But he added that, at 3.45pm, as the hospital became inundated with patients, the policy changed.

“We were still receiving many seriously ill patients and, about this point, I took the decision to send patients who had no cardiac output direct to the mortuary,” his witness statement said.

Mr Wardrope’s statement revealed he asked a colleague to ‘check that the patients we were sending there were dead’.

There was only ‘definite evidence’ of resuscitation attempts for fewer than half of the 13 people brought to the hospital with cardiac arrest. None of them survived.

In some cases, medical notes showed no evidence of any attempts to resuscitate patients.

The evidence is set to be considered when fresh inquests are held into the 96 deaths after the FA Cup Semi Final on April 28, 1989.

One Merseyside MP, Maria Eagle, who represents Garston and Halewood, said: “While the number of casualties was such that there were going to be great difficulties, the idea of not trying to resuscitate people and sending them straight to the mortuary is shocking.”

A Sheffield Teaching Hospitals spokesman said: “The speed of arrival of large numbers of critically ill patients was highly unusual.

“Every patient was triaged according to major incident procedures. Sadly, there were some who had no signs of life.”

Despite the revelations, the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals provided ‘prompt and effective treatment’ overall, the Hillsborough Independent Panel said.