Injured fans treated ‘at random’ during Hillsborough disaster

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A paramedic said he treated fans ‘at random’ during the Hillsborough disaster due to a lack of instructions from his superiors.

Leslie Worrall, who worked for South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service, said the only instruction he remembered receiving was to assist a man with a broken leg.

He was giving evidence at the inquests into 96 Liverpool FC fans who died after being crushed on the terrace at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsbrough Stadium during a football match in April 1989.

Mr Worrall said the request came from station officer Paul Eason, at about 3.12pm – five minutes after the game was stopped as fans spilled on to the pitch because of the crush at the Leppings Lane end.

Mr Worrall said he spent a couple of minutes with the man and it was only after this that he became aware fans were being crushed, as he went to help more casualties and saw fans ‘pressed against the fence’, with some appearing to have died.

He said he could not get to fans behind the fences and using cutting equipment to get through to them would have taken a ‘long time’.

Mr Worrall said he tried to resuscitate people brought out of the pens and was working on his own initiative.

He said he selected people to help ‘at random’, treating several fans, including at least three supporters who had suffered cardiac arrests.

Mr Worrall said he spent a few minutes with each casualty and would check for a pulse for no more than 10 seconds before stopping resuscitation.

He said he believed this was sufficient time to check pulses – despite accepting during questioning it is possible for victims of crushing to have very slow and faint pulses, but still be alive.

However, former ambulance officer Anthony Garrett told the inquests he would consider checking for 10 seconds to be ‘inadequate’.

Mr Garrett said he did thorough checks lasting five to six minutes on the people he helped, ‘because it is possible to miss a pulse’.

The inquests, in Warrington, Cheshire, continue.