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Medical staff who treated Skripals feared pair would not survive

Medical staff who treated Skripals feared pair would not surviveDoctors in Britain who treated former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter following their March poisoning in Salisbury have said they initially feared the pair would not recover. Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting from Moscow, collapsed on March 4 on a bench in the city in southwestern England where the former double agent lived. London blamed Moscow for using a Soviet-made nerve agent known as novichok on the pair, which Moscow has furiously denied, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Russia and Britain.



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Doctors who treated Skripals uncertain about their long-term health

Doctors who treated Skripals uncertain about their long-term healthThe doctors who treated a Russian former spy and his daughter after they were poisoned with a nerve agent in Britain say they don’t know what the pair’s long term health outlook is – and initially feared the incident could have been much worse. Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain, and daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4. Staff at Salisbury hospital, where they were treated, told the BBC that some started to wonder whether they too would fall victim to the nerve agent.



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Salisbury doctors did not believe Skripals would survive Novichok poisoning  

Salisbury doctors did not believe Skripals would survive Novichok poisoning  The doctors who treated the Skripals following the Salisbury Novichok attack did not believe the former Russian spy and his daughter would survive, they have revealed.  Medics at Salisbury District Hospital said that the prognosis for Sergei and Yulia Skripal was not good when they first arrived in the Accident and Emergency department on March 4 after collapsing on a park bench in the city.  Dr Stephen Jukes, Intensive Care consultant, told BBC Newsnight: "When we first were aware this was a nerve agent we were expecting them not to survive. We would try all our therapies. We would ensure the best clinical care. But all the evidence was there that they would not survive." He added that the medical team initially thought the pair had succumbed to an opioid overdose, but the diagnosis quickly changed  to nerve agent poisoning.  They were heavily sedated and given large doses of drugs designed to help their bodies produce a key protective enzyme.  Russian spy poisoning | Read more Staff were concerned that the illness could spread, particularly after PC Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after visiting Mr Skripal's home, was also brought in for treatment.   Lorna Wilkinson, the Director of Nursing at the hospital, said: " “I suppose the key marker for me was when the PC [Nick Bailey] was admitted with symptoms – there was a real concern as to how big could this get.” She said she remembered thinking: “‘have we just gone from having two index patients [to] having something that actually could become all-consuming and involve many casualties?’ because we really didn't know at that point.”  Sergei and Yulia Skripal photographed having a meal while fit and healthy Credit: supplied by pixel8000 Medical staff also said they had no idea of the future prognosis for any of those affected by the nerve agent.  Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at the hospital, told the programme, “the honest answer is we don't know”. The medical team at the hospital had also been helped by their proximity to Porton Down laboratory, they revealed, as it offered to carry out testing and give advice on the best therapies.  Dr Duncan Murray, head of the intensive care department, said “international experts” had helped the three to recover, alongside the "excellent teamwork by the doctors, fantastic care and dedication by our nurses".  Members of the emergency services in green biohazard encapsulated suits afix a tent over the bench on which the Skripals were found Credit: BEN STANSALL /AFP All three have now been discharged, with Mr Skripal leaving hospital the most recently, on May 18, after 10 weeks of treatment. In her first appearance since leaving hospital, Ms Skripal spoke to the news agency Reuters at a secret London location last week.  She said she felt she and her father were "lucky to both have survived this attempted assassination". She added: "I don’t want to describe the details, but the physical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing.” The British government has accused Russia of being behind the attack, expelling 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation.  It has denied any involvement and expelled British diplomats from Moscow, as well as questioning the legitimacy of Ms Skripal's statement.  In a statement, it said: "The UK is obliged to give us the opportunity to speak to Yulia directly in order to make sure that she is not held against her own will and is not speaking under pressure."



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Britain says Russia spied on Skripals before poisoning

Britain says Russia spied on Skripals before poisoningRussian intelligence was spying on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for at least five years before they were poisoned in a nerve agent attack, Britain’s National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill said in a letter to NATO on Friday. Sedwill also said that Russia has tested means of delivering chemical agents “including by application to door handles”, pointing out that the highest concentration of the chemical found after the attack was on Skripal’s front door handle. “We have information indicating Russian intelligence service interest in the Skripals, dating back at least as far as 2013, when email accounts belonging to Yulia Skripal were targeted by GRU cyber specialists,” Sedwill wrote in the letter, referring to Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency.



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Russia accuses Boris Johnson of 'distorting' OPCW findings on Skripals

Russia accuses Boris Johnson of 'distorting' OPCW findings on SkripalsRussia’s Foreign Minister on Friday accused his British counterpart of distorting the findings of the world chemical watchdog’s investigation into a spy poisoning the UK blames on Moscow. “Already politicians like Boris Johnson are once again trying to distort the truth and announce that the OPCW statement supports Britain’s conclusions without exception,” Sergei Lavrov said. “I will underline that the OPCW confirmed only the contents of the chemical substance,” he said.



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