Socialist Worker

‘No pathological basis’ for exclusion of evidence at original Hillsborough inquest, say medical experts

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2477

Fresh inquests into the deaths of fans who were crushed during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster have heard of serious problems with the original inquests.

Coroner Dr Stefan Popper would not consider evidence after 3.15pm in the original inquests in 1990. He argued that those who died were beyond saving by that time.

Pathologists and medical experts disputed this at the inquests last week.

Dr Nat Cary agreed that the cut off time was “wholly wrong and arbitrary and there was no pathological basis for it”.

Medical experts told the court that some victims may have had slight heartbeats when they were removed from the pens where the crush took place.

Professor Jonathan Hardman said he was “very confident” that this was the case.

The court also heard from Professor Jerry Nolan, a consultant in intensive care. He said it would be “very, very rare” to be able to give a specific time of death.

Dr Cary said it was a problem that medical professionals knew “very little” about what happened in the 15 minutes after kick off as fans tried to escape the crush.


The court heard that the “vast majority” of people in pens 3 and 4 survived and that “only a handful of people” who were in pen 4 died.

Medical experts said this showed fans were affected in different ways by the crush.

Professor Charles Deakin pointed out that the earlier fans were removed from pens, the earlier assessment and treatment could take place.

The inquests also heard that fan Garry Currie suffered a cardiac arrest in the crush but survived.

Professor Nolan said, “It is our view that because he was out of the pen relatively early, had high quality CPR instituted relatively early, they may all be factors that helped that individual survive.”

Dr Jasmeet Soar added, “If he’d been in cardiac arrest and placed on a hoarding, he would not have survived.”

The inquests will resume on Monday of next week.

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