The day of the bombings I was seeing a bereaved patient in the morning, so afterwards I watched the news and then phoned the Traumatic Stress Clinic (which I had founded together with Dr Stuart Turner and Prof Rachel Rosser in 1987) saying that I would come back in an Honorary capacity to see patients. I did that part-time for about 6 months.
Although I have given this comment the 7/7 headline, I always called them “the London bombings”. Most survivors had burst eardrums, and found they had no priority status on NHS waiting lists. They referred to their own event by tube stations, or the bus. There was considerable chaos. Emergency workers encountered difficulties, not least in working out that the bombings were not in the tube stations themselves, but at the mid-point of the tunnels. Transport Police on the bomb disposal team told me about the confusion that day, some of which got into the official enquiry. Some teams held back, awaiting orders.
One lady on the double decker bus at Tavistock Square had followed the bomber upstairs. He sat towards the back, and she was right at the front by the window. The explosion took the roof off. She tried to find her glasses, which had been blown off her face. Other passengers gently said she should forget about them and go downstairs, because there might be other bombs. As she approached the stairs two young men, also trying to get off what was left of the bus saw her coming, stood back and said: “After you” . Very British.
One woman who attended the wounded outside Russell Square and heard their stories about being left in the dark thereafter decided to always carry a little torch, and I still do so as a memento of that day 10 years ago.