Tawqeer Rashid, a vascular surgeon, was woken by a phone call on Monday night. “It was the hospital registrar. He said, ‘It’s chaos here, we’re calling everyone in’,” Rashid recalls. They didn’t know then what had happened — that a suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, had blown himself up at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, killing 22 and seriously injuring 64.
The 44-year-old works at Manchester Royal Infirmary but was told to go instead to Salford Royal Hospital because it doesn’t have any surgeons with his specialism. When he arrived after 1am, he treated a woman with multiple injuries who was being taken to the operating theatre. “There was a problem with blood flow to her legs —that case ran through the night.” In the morning he saw a patient with a spinal injury and damaged blood vessels. He didn’t leave until 3pm.
“The injuries we saw were horrific,” Rashid says. “It hit home when I was removing the bolts from people. They were bigger than a 50p piece, not little bolts you use in your home — enormous ones. This is a level of depravity I cannot understand: how a human being would be capable of planning this if they knew what it would do to another human being. These bolts ripped through bodies, into the stomach, the legs, severing arteries, severing nerves, smashing bones and damaging spinal cords.”