'Courageous' doctor thanked for comforting 7/7 blast victims

A doctor spoke yesterday of her distress at being unable to do more to help dying victims of the 7/7 attacks.

Gerardine Quaghebeur said she was “completely on her own” without any first aid supplies and could only offer comfort to those horrifically injured in the 2005 Aldgate bombing.

She also described her anger at fellow passengers who stopped to take pictures of the stricken Tube carriage where suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer had detonated his device.

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The coroner hearing the inquests for the 52 victims of the atrocities said Dr Quaghebeur underestimated the importance of what she did in providing assistance “with great courage, determination and humanity”.

And the father of Carrie Taylor, 24, who died in the Aldgate blast, thanked the doctor for staying with his daughter so she was not alone in her final moments.

Dr Quaghebeur, 50, a consultant neuroradiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, was travelling to her second job in London on the morning of July 7 2005 when she became caught up in the attacks.

She ended up sitting around 15ft from Tanweer on an eastbound Circle Line service after allowing an earlier train to pass because it was too crowded.

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The doctor told the inquests that the train had just left Liverpool Street station when there was an explosion like a “whoosh” that made her hair stand on end.

After some time, people from the other carriages started to leave the train and walk down the tracks to the safety of Aldgate station.

Dr Quaghebeur was about to join them when she looked to her right and for the first time saw the dead and dying passengers in her carriage.

One of the injured, professional dancer Crystal Main, looked at her and said, “You can’t be leaving us - you’re not going to leave us?”

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The doctor replied, “No, no, I’ll stay”, and asked if she could remain on the train.

Miss Taylor, a finance officer at the Royal Society of Arts from Billericay, Essex, was making involuntary movements and appeared to have spinal and head injuries, the hearing was told.

Dr Quaghebeur cradled the young woman in her arms to comfort her for about an hour.

The emergency services did not arrive to help for some time, but in the meantime other passengers continued their evacuation from the train.

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She said: “I could see people walking down the platform, obviously having come off the rest of the train and walking up to the station. They all walked past in a row and nobody came.

“Well, that’s not true. A couple of people came to take pictures, which I got really annoyed about and I got cross. I think a policeman said they would stop (them) doing that.”

Dr Quaghebeur told the inquests she did not feel she achieved anything on the wrecked train.

“I am a doctor, but really I was no more professional – what can you do in a situation like that?” she said.

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