Letters

Not all those who died after Hillsborough did so by 3 15 pm

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7089.1283 (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1283
  1. Ed Walker, Staff grade doctor in accident and emergencya
  1. a 47 Limelands Road, Sheffield S31 7XU

    Editor—In his recent letter David Slater misses the point that my review of the Hillsborough drama was just that—a review of a television programme.1 2 The scene in which he was portrayed speaking to an off duty Liverpool policeman was included in the drama, and this is the reason I referred to it in my article. The veracity of the scene is obviously not something on which I am qualified to comment. Slater says that he approached the witness concerned at the suggestion of the coroner and that he had no clandestine motives. I have no reason to doubt this. I am also pleased to have been educated, in that I have learnt that it is accepted practice for coroners to ask pathologists (whose duties are, as Slater tells us, “to present the pathological facts and findings and offer unbiased opinions that will assist the coroner and jury”) to telephone other witnesses and arrange meetings with them. Until now I had thought that the coroner decided that all those who died had received their fatal injuries by 3 15 pm. Slater states that the coroner's decision was that they were all dead by that time. This would be difficult to refute effectively by anyone who wanted to do so, by virtue of the fact that the victims to whom this applies are indeed dead. Those who survived presumably received different injuries, at different times. It is also a matter of public record that some victims who died in hospital did not die until well after 3 15 pm3—in the extreme case of Tony Bland, death did not occur for several years after that time. I personally, along with many other members of medical staff, was attempting resuscitation on those who subsequently died, but were very much alive, well after 3 15 pm. This is quite simply a matter of fact.

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