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Terror survivor: Genevieve Maiden and partner Adrian Graham on a holiday in Slovenia recently. Genevieve flew out to Africa yesterday after a week in which she celebrated London’s successful Olympic bid and 24 hours later helped provide medical assistance to more than 100 victims of the London bomb attacks.As the body count from London’s bomb attack continues to climb today, a former Tamworth girl has revealed her experience as one of the first to offer medical aid to the
A former teenage columnist with The Leader, Genevieve Maiden wanted to share her story and describe the bravery and quiet efficiency of her British colleagues and the victims she helped.
On Wednesday morning Genevieve, like millions of other Londoners, was getting ready for a busy workday.
The physiotherapist had arrived at her workplace, a rehabilitation centre, and was planning her usual day. She would normally commute to home care visits throughout London, getting on and off buses and trains at Edgware Road station.
If it had been any other day, she would have spent her down-time daydreaming and planning her impending trip to Africa with partner Adrian.
But it was no ordinary day.
Shortly after arriving at work, a little after 9am, Genevieve heard a muffled explosion and within the hour was offering her services to the victims of a terrorist attack.
Together with several colleagues, she helped set up a triage at a hotel near the Edgware station – one of the four locations, three underground stations and a bus, targeted by bombs.
“As soon as we heard what it was, the centre’s major incident plan came into action,” Genevieve said.
She helped treat and categorise more than 100 “walking wounded”; those with burns, shrapnel wounds and those suffering shock.
“Many of the people we saw had only minor physical injuries but they were distressed and in shock,” she said.
“Some of them had just horrendous stories; one patient told me he saw a man near him decapitated. You can’t imagine the horror of it.
“They all had their plans for the day, going to work, meeting their partners and friends. There was one autistic boy who was on his way to college; when the bombs went off, the smoke, the screams, he had no idea what was happening. It must have been so terrifying for him.”
Genevieve had only the highest praise for the emergency workers, hospital staff and her colleagues, saying their professionalism and calmness ensured the best care was provided.
“It’s not something you’d ever wish to live through or take part in, but seeing the way they handled this was so amazing,” she said.
“I think that was what was most surreal, the calmness in how the Brits got on with the job, their quiet efficiency and stoicism – in spite of this horrendous attack.”
It’s been a massive week for Genevieve, who 24 hours before the attack had been celebrating the news of London’s successful Olympics bid.
Then 24 hours after the attack, she’d returned to work and was again using the public transport system.
“Once the transport services returned everyone just got back on; mind you everyone was looking at each other, eyeing off backpacks,” she said.
“It sounds strange, I know, but I actually feel safer now than I did before the bombs. We’ve been living with this threat, everyone felt it was coming, and now it has and we’ve survived it.”
Friday was Genevieve’s last day of work at the centre, after two and a half years in London. She and Adrian yesterday caught a plane to Africa for a three-month holiday. When she returns, she will begin another job in Ireland.
For Genevieve’s mum, Joanne Maiden and brother James, the attack has prompted a roller coaster of emotions over the past few days.
Mrs Maiden, had been at the Camerata concert, with Genevieve’s grandfather, until late on Wednesday night, first hearing of the attacks via the radio on her way home.
“My first reaction was just horror. I got home and turned the TV on and it was all so graphic. I pressed the answering machine praying to hear Genevieve’s voice, telling me she was safe. Thankfully she’d called, her workplace had let her call and leave a brief message,” Mrs Maiden said.
“It was the best message I’ve ever heard in my life.”
While keenly feeling the distance between them, Mrs Maiden, also recognised with pride the work her daughter had completed.
“She’s a wonderful, strong and compassionate person, Genevieve. It didn’t surprise me, but I can’t help but be proud that she had the skill and compassion to help.”
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