Manchester Bombing Victim Spent More Than an Hour Dying Before Being Taken to Hospital

TOPSHOT - Messages and floral tributes are seen in Albert Square in Manchester, northwest
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

John Atkinson, 28, spent more than an hour dying on the floor on the night of the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack before he was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Mr Atkinson was one of 22 people killed during the Islamist terror bombing committed by 22-year-old Salman Abedi on May 22nd, 2017, at the Manchester Arena after a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande. Abedi detonated his suicide bomb as concert-goers, mostly families, young women, and girls, were filing through the foyer.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard during a public inquiry into the death of Mr Atkinson, a healthcare assistant, that he was losing a significant amount of blood as he lay in pain for 47 minutes on the floor of the foyer before being taken to the Victoria Station concourse, which had been set up as a casualties area, where he was left for a further 23 minutes.

During the whole time, Atkinson was conscious, talking and begging “please don’t let me die” before going into cardiac arrest as he was being wheeled to an ambulance. He was then taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary but a short time later was pronounced dead, according to the BBC.

Experts had said that Mr Atkinson could have been saved had he received medical help sooner.

Senior paramedic Phillip Keogh, who treated Mr Atkinson, agreed with the assessment that the victim had been left for too long before getting hospital treatment, which reduced his chances of survival, but said that there were not enough paramedics available at the scene of the major terror attack, with many injured left on the ground waiting for help.

A family spokesman said on Monday that “John was badly let down by some from the emergency services. Mistake after mistake was made, and precious time was allowed to ebb away whilst John needed urgent hospital treatment.”

The inquiry continues, but it is not the first time Manchester courtrooms have heard evidence pointing to multiagency failings surrounding the 2017 terror attack.

A review into the terror attack that stretched from 2020 to 2021 found that police and community support officers had taken excessively long breaks and that at one point, no law enforcement officers were guarding the venue meaning that Abedi, bearing a conspicuous backpack, was able to walk in unchallenged.

Members of the public had also warned security staff about the suspicious behaviour of Abedi before he detonated his bomb, including him praying before the attack, but concerns had been brushed off, with one guard admitting he ignored the Islamist because he feared being branded a “racist”.

Emergency services were also criticised for arriving late, with police found to have failed to alert ambulance and fire services earlier to the incident.

Greater Manchester Police had been advised of the security deficiencies of the Manchester Arena six months before the attack but did not act on the recommendations. The inquest also revealed the Abedi was well-known to security services before May 2017, including having been flagged 18 times by MI5 over seven years as well as being known to have relationships with others being monitored by the domestic intelligence agency.

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