Medics describe ‘night of horror’ in Manchester

Medical staff who treated victims of the Manchester Arena attack have described the emotional scenes they experienced during “a night of horror”.

Twenty two people were killed and more than 500 people have been directly affected, either physically or mentally, by the bombing at the arena on 22 May.

A&E nurse Charlotte Brownhill and orthopaedic surgeon Barnes Morgan give their personal accounts of treating victims at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

:: A Nurse’s View – Charlotte Brownhill

A&E nurse Charlotte Brownhill, who treated victims of the Manchester Arena bombing

Image: A&E nurse Charlotte Brownhill

When I first arrived in the department there was an eerie sense of calm professionalism.

We had a briefing to say what information we had at the time. That was patchy, which made it quite difficult because we needed to announce to the waiting room that we were on a major incident.

Obviously you don’t want to tell the public anything that is going to frighten them if we didn’t have the details.

We had it confirmed that there had been a bombing. It sends chills down your spine.

The time we knew just how significant this was was when the first patient came through.

The level of injuries that patient had sustained was shocking. It gave a real clue as to the amount of trauma which must have occurred at the scene.

I have seen a lot of trauma and we have seen a lot of difficult scenes but this was unusual because of the context and because of those injuries – we don’t see them like that.

We see trauma. We don’t see blast injuries. I have never seen a blast injury in my career before.

The patients that came in were in shock.

You would have expected, for those injuries, for it to be suddenly very loud and busy and there wasn’t that sound.

  • Saffie Roussos, 8

    Saffie, from Leyland in Lancashire, was at the concert with her mother Lisa and older sister after being given the tickets for Christmas.

    Her family were injured in the bombing.

    Saffie was a pupil at Tarleton Community Primary School.

    Her headteacher, Chris Upton, described her as “simply a beautiful girl”.

    “She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair.”

    :: Saffie Roussos: Funeral held for youngest victim of Manchester Arena bombing

    At her funeral her family started #saffiethesuperstar to celebrate her singing talent.

    Her father, Andrew Roussos, called her a “stunning young lady” and said she was a “superstar in the making”.

    “To become something in life you have to have that spark, that charisma. The ones that make it are born with it… and Saffie had that.

    “All she asked of us was to love her, to reassure her that we were there for her, to let her go off and do what she wanted to do.”

  • Nell Jones, 14

    The teenager was a year nine student at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire and the Ariana Grande concert was her first gig.

    In a tribute, her family said she was “top class”, “clever” and “fun”.

    They told of a teenager fond of shopping and “spending money”, with plans to work over the summer “so she could spend more”.

    Her form tutor, David Wheeler, said she was a “very popular girl, “always smiling, always positive”.

  • Sorrell Leczkowski, 14

    Budding architect Sorrell had travelled to the concert with her mother Samantha and grandmother Pauline to pick up her sister, who escaped uninjured

    The Leeds teenager, a year nine pupil at Allerton High School, was described by her family as “a clever, talented, creative girl” who dreamed of studying architecture at Columbia University in New York.

    Her grandfather said in a statement: “Sorrell was only 14 but she was our rock, she kept us all grounded. She was such a clever, talented, creative girl, there was nothing she couldn’t do.

    “She was going to be an architect and wanted to go to Columbia University in New York to study so that she could build hotels with slides coming out of the rooms and so that she could build her mum a house.”

    Sorrell’s funeral took place at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Otley, Leeds, in June.

    Online fundraising pages were set up to support Samantha and Pauline, who were injured in the attack. Almost £30,000 was raised.

  • Eilidh MacLeod, 14

    Eilidh was from the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

    She was at the show celebrating her birthday with a friend and it was her first concert.

    Eilidh’s mother, Marion, received a text from the girls to say the last song had started and they would be leaving soon, but when she arrived at the arena she was unable to find them.

    Her parents said in a statement: “Our family is devastated and words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh.”

    :: Manchester attack victim Eilidh MacLeod buried on her home island

    “Eilidh was vivacious and full of fun. She loved all music whether it was listening to Ariana or playing the bagpipes with her pipe band.

    “As a family we would like to express our thanks and gratitude for the support and kind messages we have received at this difficult time.”

  • Megan Hurley, 15

    The 15-year-old schoolgirl from Liverpool was the last victim to be named and was given the tickets for her birthday.

    She was a pupil from Halewood Academy.

    Her head of year, Carol Thomas, told BBC Merseyside at her funeral: “She had a warmth about her that could not be imitated. She was proof of how fine a young person can be.”

    The teenager went to the concert with her older brother Bradley, who was seriously injured in the bombing and had to defer his final year studying at John Moores University.

    At her funeral at St Nicholas Church, 22 bells were rung for the victims.

    Parents Michael and Joanne said: “Megan was a fun-loving, sincere, caring and beautiful young lady.

    “Megan had a passion for music and loved going to concerts. She loved socialising and loved having family get-togethers.

    “She also loved to have her friends over for sleepovers or just to have catch ups.”

  • Chloe Rutherford, 17

    Chloe, from South Shields, was at the concert with her boyfriend Liam Curry, who was also killed in the attack.

    She was due to start an apprenticeship at a local travel agent.

    She met Liam through her brother being a member of Marsden Cricket Club, according to head coach Chris Mann.

    He told the Chronicle: “I’ve never seen a couple like them at such a young age before. They were incredibly well suited, I’ve never come across a couple so strong at that age, they never left each other’s side, they were made for each other.”

    Chloe’s family said they were “inseparable” and “perfect for each other”.

    “They wanted to be together forever and now they are.”

  • Liam Curry, 19

    Liam and his girlfriend Chloe Rutherford had been at the concert together.

    He was a student at Northumbria University studying sport science and was a keen cricketer.

    He had played for Marsden Cricket Club since the age of six, which is where he met his sweetheart Chloe.

    Head coach Chris Mann told the Chronicle: “Everyone will remember him fondly, he was such an easygoing lad.”

    The couple were described as “beautiful inside and out” in a joint statement released by both their families.

    “They lived to go to new places together and explore different cities,” it said.

  • Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15

    Olivia, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was one of those unaccounted for following the attack, and her family had made a desperate appeal for information.

    She was at the concert with her friend Adam Lawler, who needed surgery for his serious injuries.

    Her death was confirmed by her mother Charlotte, who wrote on Facebook: “RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl Olivia Campbell taken far far to soon go sing with the angels and keep smiling mummy loves you so much.”

    Olivia was a student at Tottington High School.

    Headteacher Brian Duffy said: “As a school community we are absolutely devastated and heartbroken at the news that Olivia has passed away.

    Olivia was a delightful young girl in Year 10, and will be dearly missed.”

    A service of “hope and love” was held to remember her, with hundreds of people lining the streets to see her funeral procession.

    Olivia’s friend Adam will walk Charlotte down the aisle for her wedding in November, according to Good Morning Britain.

    It will be the closest date to what would have been Olivia’s 16th birthday.

  • Georgina Callander, 18

    Georgina had been accepted into university, had recently passed her driving test and was “loving life”, her family said.

    She was a super-fan of Ariana Grande and had posed for pictures with the American pop star in the past.

    A day before the concert, she had tweeted Grande and said: “SO EXCITED TO SEE U TOMORROW.”

    Georgina, who was from Chorley in Lancashire, was studying health and social care at Runshaw College.

    “Georgina was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, with a smile that was never-ending,” her family said in a statement.

    “She always had big hugs for everyone and her life was blooming like the flowers she loved.”

    In the aftermath of the bombing the family also called on the Government to “open its eyes”.

    “Her life was taken away after 18 short years by evil, evil men prepared to ruin lives and destroy families, for what?” they said.

    :: Manchester bombing victim’s family: Government must ‘open its eyes’

    “I wish I could say that Georgina is one of the last to die in this way but unless our government opens its eyes we know we are only another in a long line of parents on a list that continues to grow.”

  • Courtney Boyle, 19

    Courtney was studying Criminology and Psychology at Leeds Beckett university.

    She was at the concert with her stepfather who also died.

    Vice-chancellor, Professor Peter Slee, said: “Courtney was a lovely, bright and hardworking student who had achieved excellent marks in her first semester with us.

    “She is a great loss to the university and to her fellow students.”

    Courtney’s mother Deborah Hutchinson said: “My stunning, amazing, beautiful daughter, you were my rock you made me so proud with all you had achieved and my gorgeous, crazy Philip, you made my world a happy place and now you are both my angels flying high in the sky.”

  • Martyn Hett, 29

    Martyn was a PR Manager in Manchester and was killed just weeks away from a two-month “trip of a lifetime” to the US.

    His funeral at Stockport Town Hall had a carriage pulled by grey horses wearing white feathers.

    It was attended by several stars of Coronation Street, his coffin was decorated with a Coronation Street as a superfan.

    :: TV host Wendy Williams pays tribute to Manchester victim Martyn Hett

    His younger sister was sitting her GCSEs when the attack happened and in August she found out she had got 11 A*s.

    She told the BBC: “When we didn’t know where [Martyn] was, I was just thinking that I should probably revise just in case we found him.

    “I thought if we did find out [he had died] I won’t end up doing it but, just in case we find out he’s fine and it’s a misunderstanding, I should probably revise.”

    His father Paul said: “I would describe Martyn’s life as one long rollercoaster ride. You never knew where it would take you or what was round that corner, but you couldn’t wait for it to happen.

    “He was inspirational and this in turn inspired everyone around him.

    “His comic timing was perfect. He would have gone on to achieve the most amazing things, of that we have no doubt.

    “In a very nice way, Martyn loved being in the limelight and the centre of attention. He would be loving every minute of this fantastic celebration of his life.”

    His boyfriend Russell Hayward posted on Twitter: “We got the news last night that our wonderful iconic and beautiful Martyn didn’t survive.

    “He left this world exactly how he lives, centre of attention.

    “Thankfully I have his wonderful family and amazing friends to keep each other strong. I love you Martyn. I always will.”

    :: Terror victim Martyn Hett’s mum: ‘He’d love the attention

  • Michelle Kiss, 45

    The mother-of-three, from Lancashire, had been at the arena to pick up her 12-year-old daughter, Millie, who survived the attack.

    She was laid to rest during a service at St Alban’s Catholic Church in Whalley, a village in Lancashire, in June, with hundreds of mourners turning out to pay their respects.

    Her family said they were “absolutely devastated” by her death, and paid tribute to the “courage and strength” she had shown throughout her life.

    The Manchester Evening News reported how Millie also paid tribute to her mother at the funeral, with an emotional message read out on her behalf.

    “Life is going to be so different without my mum by my side, but I am going to remember you, mum, with your beautiful smile and pretty face and sparkling eyes,” it said.

    “You will never ever be forgotten – not by anyone.”

  • Kelly Brewster, 32

    Kelly died shielding her niece, Hollie and her sister, Claire.

    From Arbourthorne, Sheffield, her family said she was the “life and soul of any party”.

    She worked as a claims assessor for insurance firm Aviva, according to the Sheffield Star.

    Her family said she “strived to succeed in everything she set her mind to”.

    She travelled recently on her own to Australia and America where she climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge and toured the Grand Canyon.

    She also took Ian and Phoebe with her for their most recent trip, Disneyland Paris back in February.

    At her funeral at City Road Cemetery, Reverend Ben Oliver said: “What a lass she was.

    “Hers was a beautiful life – full of love, full of vitality, full of youth and, indeed, full of hope for the future.”

    Her partner Ian said they were excited about moving into a new house and wanted to have children.

  • Wendy Fawell, 50

    Wendy had travelled to the concert with her friend, Caroline, who was seriously injured along with the pair’s children.

    Fawell, from Otley, West Yorkshire worked in primary schools.

    One school she worked at previously, Oswald’s C of E Primary School in Guiseley, tweeted: “It is with deepest sadness that I confirm that our former colleague Wendy Fawell was killed in the Manchester bombing. RIP, Wendy”

    Wendy’s son Adam said the family were “devastated”, adding: “Mum was a wonderful woman.

    So kind and generous and touched the lives of so many”.

    At her funeral Caroline, who had recovered enough from her injuries to attend, told the BBC that Wendy was “very caring and loving”.

  • Alison Howe, 45

    The second mum to be killed while waiting for their daughters in the foyer of the arena, they were both buried on the same day.

    Alison had two daughters and four stepsons with her husband Steve who she had been with for 21 years.

    She was a sexual health nurse in the NHS and her manager Lorraine Roberts said: “She never asked for anytime back if she worked over and she was always flexible and helpful. She was always smiling”.

    Her husband called her “just perfect”.

    The funeral was held at St Anne’s Church in Royston.

  • Elaine Mciver, 43

    Elaine was off-duty with her husband Paul waiting in the foyer to collect Paul’s 13-year-old daughter and her friend from the concert.

    Her family said: “She was everyone’s friend, thoughtful beyond belief with an effervescent and outgoing personality”

    She had been working for the force’s regional organised crime unit and had been part of the police for more than twenty years.

    Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “Friends who knew her well have described her as big hearted, bubbly and a positive person.”

    Her sister Lynda posted on Facebook:”

    Ms McIver’s sister Lynda posted a tribute on Facebook: “You will never quite know how much you are helping us through this nightmare.

    “I am mindful that we aren’t the only ones who are suffering but Elaine would want us to all zip up our man suits – I like to call them McIver Girl suits! – and get on with it.

    “We had an amazing and fantastic sisterly bond that will continue to live on inside me as long as I am breathing and until I join her one day when we can carry on the mischief together, wherever that may be.”

  • John Atkinson, 28

    John was a support worker for people who had a stroke and for those on the autistic spectrum.

    His family said he and his partner Michael had been together for 15 years living in Radcliffe.

    Their tribute said: “John loved life and he lived his life to the fullest”.

    He had recently gone on a diet and lost eight stone and would swim at his local leisure centre.

    The reverend at his funeral said he was a “genuine role model to the people he supported”.

  • Lisa Lees, 43

    Lisa Lees was killed with her friend Alison Howe as they waited for their children to come out of the concert.

    She had been studying at Oldham College as a beauty tutor.

    She was buried at St Anne’s where the Revd James Read said: “She had so many plans for the future but she was taken on that awful, awful day.”

    Her brother, Lee Hunter, said: “For those who don’t know Lisa is gone but never ever forgotten I love you Lisa I’ll miss you so much.”

  • Angelika Klis, 39

    The Polish national was at the arena with her husband Marcin to pick up the couple’s daughters and take them back to the family home in York.

    More than £18,000 was raised by an online fundraising page in their memory, with the proceeds to go to their two daughters, Patrycia and Alex, who were aged 13 and 20 respectively at the time of the attack.

    Alex posted a desperate plea for help on Facebook following the attack as she had been unable to find her parents.

    The family held a private funeral at York Crematorium in June and said they were “grateful” for the outpouring of support they had received.

    In August, on what would have been Mrs Klis’ 40th birthday, Alex posted on Facebook: “Happy birthday to my queen✨ I remember how much you dreaded this big 40 and I remember how I’d always tell you we’ll pretend it’s your 18th again and throw you an 18th party.

    “I can’t comprehend the fact that I’ll be celebrating your big milestone without you but I hope you have the best 18th up there, I’ll have a drink for you (or a few) I love you all the world.”

  • Marcin Klis, 42

    Marcin was at the arena with his wife, Angelika, who also died in the attack, to pick up the couple’s daughters and take them back to the family home in York.

    More than £18,000 was raised by an online fundraising page in their memory, with the proceeds to go to their two daughters, Patrycia and Alex, who were aged 13 and 20 respectively at the time of the attack.

    The family held a private funeral at York Crematorium in June and said they were “grateful” for the outpouring of support they had received.

  • Phillip Tron, 32

    Philip had travelled to Manchester to collect his partner’s daughter, who was attending the Ariana Grande concert.

    From Gateshead, his funeral was held at St Mark’s Methodist Church, where the theme from the film Top Gun was played.

    His partner said: “My gorgeous crazy Philip, you made my world a happy place, and now you are both my angels flying high in the sky.”

    Mr Tron’s mother described him as someone “who would do anything for anyone”.

    “Our most amazing son, partner, brother, father, uncle, nephew and cousin, Philip Tron, sadly passed away on the 22nd May 2017.

    “Philip was such a fun-loving, energetic soul, he would light up the darkest room and lift your spirits with his infectious laugh, witty sense of humour and his beautiful smile.

    “Words cannot express the huge void his passing has left in all our lives.”

  • Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51

    Ms Tweddle-Taylor was waiting at the arena to pick up a friend’s daughter.

    She was a receptionist at South Shore Academy in Blackpool, where colleagues described her as “bubbly, kind, welcoming, funny and generous”.

    Principal Jane Bailey added: “She is irreplaceable, much loved and will never be forgotten.”

    The Blackpool Tower was lit up in her name and in memory of all of the other victims.

    Her husband, former Hartlepool United, Blackpool and Wrexham footballer Mark Taylor, told BBC Lancashire that she was a “very, very lovely lady and a very good mother”.

    He added: “She was full of life and very energetic with the children, going to functions and all sort of different things like skiing. We had loads of happy times.”

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There were busy people rushing around and doing things but there wasn’t the screaming, the noise of pain that you would expect to hear from injuries as massive as they were.

There was a calmness in the patients. They were distressed but they recognised people were there to help.

They weren’t shouting out. They were receiving help, communicating quietly.

I stood with a lady who needed somebody to hold her hand. My job as a matron, as a nurse, as a human being was to hold her hand, stay with her for what she needed.

Holding someone’s hand probably is the greatest gift you can do in a situation like that. To be able to reassure someone and tell them you are going to be there and it’s going to be ok.

I can see each and every patient’s face that came through, so they all have different visions that stick in your head.

There was a particular lady who asked me not to let her die.

That’s not a question that is uncommon for people to say to you but at that time, when you are holding someone’s hand, you don’t know if you can answer that question honestly or not.

You just have to do your best to reassure them and give them hope and strength that we are doing everything that we possibly can.

You don’t forget things like that. You don’t forget patients.

That particular night, knowing that the injuries were so severe and knowing that person could very well die, seeing the look in her face where she just looked frightened, you don’t forget that very easily.

I think when you get home, that is when you take your armour down a little bit.

That is where you start to really take on board what it is that you have just experienced and how huge that is. The effect of that is massive.

Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig.

Image: Bomber Salman Abedi targeted an Ariana Grande concert

I sat down. The house was really quiet.

I made a cup of tea and it doesn’t happen often but I cried, just taking on board everything that had happened.

I’m not a hero. We were just doing our job. It’s what we do.

I think we’ve had lots of attention for what we did, but it is our job. I love my job. I love everything about it.

It’s heartening, I think, the response as a country. It makes me very proud to be part of the NHS.

I think the responses that we have seen through all the tragedies this year have been very difficult.

I think as a nation it feels like we have pulled together. It feels like people are taking a bit longer to say thank-you.

I really feel that through this tragedy, what is coming out of it, is people are being resilient and standing together and being stronger as a result.

:: A Surgeon’s View – Barnes Morgan

Surgeon Barnes Morgan, who treated victims of the Manchester Arena bombing

Image: Surgeon Barnes Morgan

I received a phone call from one of my colleagues at Stepping Hill Hospital saying there had been a major incident, that we had a number of severely injured casualties and that our service was being overwhelmed and he needed help, basically.

That was when I first realised the size of the incident.

In fact that realisation became more and more apparent as I rushed my way into hospital to come and help out.

I was listening to the news on the way in, where it became clear to me that we were involved in a very major-scale incident.

I was flabbergasted, to be honest. It was like being on a war zone looking at the patients being seen.

Short of any military experience, which I don’t have, nothing can prepare you for that scale of injury on each individual patient and collectively as a group of patients.

Image from Siobhan Robbins VT about those affected by the Manchester bombing

Video: Struggle of those affected by Manchester bombing

While I’m a medical professional and trained to be able to cope with injuries, and that’s obviously what I do day in and day out, nothing takes away that human side of things, when you are seeing not only injured patients but their relatives who are dealing with this phenomenal emotional trauma.

I was treating one patient. I was in hospital by 3.30am and remained treating that patient until sometime early the next morning.

It was like seeing someone who had stepped on a land mine, (with) very severe injuries.

The bomb that was involved was a type of shrapnel explosion and that just causes tremendous and widespread damage to patients’ bodies.

Normally when you are a consultant operating on a patient you are in a very small bubble of you and your patient. The rest of the world outside of the four walls of the operating theatre doesn’t exist.

But that night I think all of us were aware that there was something much bigger than you and this one patient involved.

There was something going on almost identical to what you were doing in every other hospital in Manchester in several different operating theatres.

It’s very rare you have that feeling of collective experience.

It’s a night of horror that will always live with me but I feel really privileged that I had the skills to help people in their time of need, that I was in a place where I could be useful.

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I don’t feel like a hero that night.

I feel like somebody who was just very grateful that I was able to help out.