Hospital defends A&E Hillsborough response

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Sheffield hospital bosses have defended how staff treated victims of the Hillsborough disaster after claims some patients were taken to the mortuary without being given resuscitation.

In a witness statement released by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, James Wardrope, the consultant in charge of accident and emergency at the Northern General Hospital, said he sent some patients with ‘no cardiac output direct to the mortuary’.

But a spokeswoman for Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which has managed the Northern General Hospital since 2001 said: “No patients who arrived at the Northern General Hospital were taken straight to the mortuary.

“Every patient who was brought to the A&E department was properly triaged according to major incident procedures and sadly some of those patients had no clinical signs of life upon examination.”

She added: “On that tragic day in April 1989, the actions taken by staff at the Northern General Hospital saved many lives under very harrowing and pressurised circumstances.

“The scale and nature of the tragedy was unprecedented and the speed of arrival of large numbers of critically ill patients was highly unusual.

“Despite this, extra staff arrived quickly, and drugs and additional equipment were obtained as soon as possible.

“Documents clearly show that staff at the hospital were open and candid in their accounts of what happened on that day and there was no attempt to hide how unprecedented and difficult the situation was.

“The panel considered all these accounts and their report stated that both main Sheffield hospitals provided prompt and effective treatment for survivors.”