Manchester Arena victim 'may have survived if he hadn't had to wait an hour for treatment'

A MANCHESTER Arena bombing victim may have survived his injuries if he had not waited nearly an hour for medical treatment, the inquiry has been told.

John Atkinson, 28, suffered a heart attack an hour and 17 minutes after the blast when he suffered blood loss from leg and abdominal wounds.

He only received treatment after he was carried to paramedics by members of the public on a makeshift stretcher made from advertising hoardings and a metal barrier, the inquiry was told.

Only one stretcher was brought to help with evacuations and police and public were forced to use cardboard and crowd control barriers to carry victims from the scene.

Mr Atkinson, a health care assistant who worked with autistic adults, was at the concert because Ariana Grande was one of his favourite singers, the inquiry was told.

He received the tickets as a Christmas present and went with a lifelong friend called Gemma O'Donnell, who was also the sister of his partner, Michael.

Mr Atkinson was six metres away from Salman Abedi when he set off his suicide bomb in the City Room foyer of Manchester Arena at 10:31pm on May 22 2017, the inquiry heard.

He managed to drag himself towards an exit called the 50 Pence staircase, where he was helped by a member of the public called Ronald Blake.


Mr Blake was among the first people to dial 999, seconds after the blast, which killed 22 people.

He was talked through how to put a tourniquet on Mr Atkinson's leg using his belt by the emergency call handler and he stayed with Mr Atkinson for "just short of an hour" until he was treated by paramedics, Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquest, said.

Paramedics took his pulse at 11:34pm – just over an hour after the blast – when it was measured at 62 beats a minute, but at 11:48 he suffered a heart attack.

He was placed in an ambulance at 11:59pm and arrived at Manchester Royal Infirmary seven minutes later.

"Despite the efforts of those treating him, he was declared dead at 12:24am," Mr Greaney said.

Mr Atkinson had sustained very severe leg injuries and abdominal injuries and suffered a cardiac arrest due to inadequate blood filling his circulatory system.

A panel of experts on blast injuries, instructed by the inquiry, said the injuries he suffered were "potentially survivable."

A post-mortem discovered that Mr Atkinson suffered from ischaemic heart disease and Dr Paul Rees, a surgeon commander in the Royal Navy and an expert in cardiology was instructed to investigate further.

His conclusions were said to be "stark".

"On the balance of probabilities, the heart condition did not contribute to blood loss, cardiac arrest or to the ability to successfully resuscitate John," Mr Geaney said.

"In short, in the opinion of Dr Rees, the heart condition did not make any difference to whether or not John would have died."

The inquiry was also told how Abedi comforted a suspected extremist preacher on his death-bed as he was dying from cancer four months before the attack.

The bomber also had discussions with another radical about martyrdom and was in regular contact with him in the year leading up to the attack.

Kuwaiti national Mansoor al-Anezi, was previously arrested over his links to failed suicide bomber Nicky Reilly, launched an attack on a Giraffe restaurant in Exeter in May 2008.

Anezi died from cancer on January 17 2017 and Salman Abedi was with him when he died, the inquiry was told.

MI5 held information that Abedi had visited a known extremist in prison on more than one occasion but assessed this did not justify re-opening a previous investigation into him, the inquiry was told for the first time.

"It seems that Salman Abedi's relationship with Abdalraouf Abdallah was one of some significance and we are determined to get to the bottom of it," Mr Greaney said.

Abdallah was convicted on May 11 2016 and jailed for five-and-a-half years.
He has refused to answer any questions asked by the inquiry.

New pictures were also shown of both Salman and his brother Hashim during a visit to Libya in 2011. One shows Hashim holding a huge rocket launcher, with others have shown him with a machine gun.

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