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Grenfell Tower fire: nurses tell how they tried to help patients

Two nurses have told of their struggle to care for patients following a huge tower block fire in London.

Two nurses have told of their struggle to care for patients following a huge tower block fire in London.


Seventeen people are known to have died in the Grenfell Tower fire, but the figure is expected to rise. Picture: Getty

Royal Free Hospital charge nurse Daniel Almeida and University College Hospital nurse Simone Williams were both on duty during the blaze at Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

A total of 17 people are known to have died and a further 17 are in a critical condition in six hospitals across London.

While Mr Almeida tried to help people being brought into the emergency department, Ms Williams went directly to the scene as an emergency volunteer.

Both said the horrific scenes they witnessed had affected them deeply.

‘Uncertain future’

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mr Almeida said: ‘It's frightening. You don't know what sort of consequences there will be, or what will happen in the future, after these sort of things.’

The Royal Free Hospital received 12 patients on the night, all suffering from smoke inhalation, several had to be anaesthetised and intubated by the team of 16 nurses and five doctors.

Mr Almeida added: ‘They were shocked. They were not particularly talking much, but at the same time they were disclosing some information to us when we were assessing them.

‘It was only when we started to have the blood results back that we realised that some of them were really, really sick.'

One patient was a mother who had been desperately searching for her child.

‘Helpless’

Mr Almeida has not yet found out if they were reunited, but said: ‘We tried to help as much as we could, and liaised with the LAS to get them information. You still feel helpless.

Ms Williams, who lives near the scene of the fire, told the BBC that it was ‘the worst incident I have ever seen’.

Explaining how she first heard of the incident at 1am, she said: ‘As a nurse, it's my duty to help so I came outside... I ran down to the cordon and said, "look, I'm a nurse, can I come in and help?"'

Ms Williams revealed how the patients she treated were ‘spitting out black tar that had gone on their lungs’ and added: ‘It was obvious that people were not going to get out’.


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