Thursday July 7, 2005
A GP who helped treat casualties following today's bus explosion outside the London headquarters of the British Medical Association has described the scene.
Dr Laurence Buckman, from the BMA's GPs committee, said the front of BMA House in Tavistock Square was splattered with blood and body parts were strewn across the road.
The building was turned into a mini hospital while casualties were moved away from the road and were waiting to be taken to hospital.
Dr Buckman told SocietyGuardian.co.uk that he was on his way to a meeting at the BMA and arrived 10 minutes after the bus exploded outside the building.
He said: "I arrived at the BMA just as the first ambulance arrived. My first impression was about the amount of blood. The whole of the front of the building was covered with blood — quite high up, I suspect that was because the upstairs of the bus had been blown off."
There was also a lot of smashed glass and metal everywhere, he said.
Dr Buckman said ambulance staff told him there were around 10 people dead in the blast. Two people died in the BMA courtyard as doctors tried to treat them.
He said: "I went straight to the BMA courtyard and there were about 40 or 50 doctors there who had either been working in the building or were there to attend meetings.
"My first job was helping to treat a very sick person who had blast injuries. I have been a casualty doctor in my time and also been involved in emergency planning — you don't forget most of those skills and doctors are trained to cope with these kind of things at a first response level."
The BMA doctors were being organised by another GP, Dr Peter Holden, who was also at the doctors' headquarters and is a member of the British Association of Immediate Care trained to deal with casualties in major emergencies.
Doctors were treating patients for shock, administering drips and stemming bleeding, working alongside ambulance and other emergency staff. Dr Buckman said emergency crews arrived on the scene very quickly to help treat the casualties.
He said BMA doctors helped treat around nine people who were seriously injured and around another nine walking wounded were taken inside the BMA building to be looked after. Dr Buckman said he immediately thought that there had been a terrorist attack.
"I came to the BMA in a taxi because the Northern Line wasn't working — I know now it was because of a bomb."
Most of the casualties had broken limbs, burns and cuts, he said. The GP said he spoke to the bus driver, who appeared uninjured.
Dr Buckman stayed helping the injured for four hours before going home at 4pm.
He said: "It was fortunate that the explosion happened at that location where there so many doctors around."
He said his training as a doctor meant that he just "got on with the job", but he said some colleagues and other people at the scene were "very upset".
Asked what he thought about the terrorists responsible for the attack, he said: "Whoever they are I don't think it takes great bravery to blow up large numbers of people on London Transport. None of these [injured] people have taken up arms against them or done them any harm."
Source: The Guardian