Some patients being treated after the Grenfell Tower fire have weeks and possibly months of recovery ahead of them, a doctor treating them has said.
Fourteen people are in hospital – eight receiving critical care and some in induced comas – NHS England has said.
King’s College Hospital Clinical Director Duncan Bew said hundreds of patients had been expected but did not arrive, adding: “It was very sad.”
The west London tower fire left 79 people dead, or missing presumed dead.
Around £200,000 of a £5m emergency fund has so far been given to families affected by last Tuesday’s fire, it has emerged.
Some 180 families directly affected by the blaze had received money, the Grenfell Response Team said on Monday.
Speaking a week after the devastating fire, Mr Bew, from the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital, said the hospital had received 12 patients from the blaze.
The hospital is still treating seven people, five of whom remain in critical care.
Staff had expected to see “hundreds” of patients with a range of injuries, including burns, smoke inhalation and “people falling from a height, from jumping from windows,” he said.
But then they realised many patients were not making it to hospital and were still trapped inside the tower.
“We were ready to receive many more casualties,” he said.
“We knew there were many more people in the building. As time went on and we realised that we weren’t going to receive those casualties, it was very sad.”
He said some of his patients had clung to banisters to feel their way down 20 flights of stairs after fearing they were about to die.
Others had tried to save other families on their way towards the tower’s exit.
Almost all were suffering the effects of smoke inhalation, with very few having burns.
“We had patients who had saved their own families but had also tried to save other families as well.”
He added: “They had to make a very difficult decision. People went into the stairwells and went into toxic smoke.
“I think people who escaped felt that they were going to die and that the only way to stay alive was to go through the smoke.”
He added that it was “remarkable” that none of our first responders was killed.
Elsewhere, officials have said some victims are “reticent” to come forward and help the investigation into the fire due to concerns over their immigration status.
Victoria Vasey, director of North Kensington Law Centre, told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One it is “imperative” people feel safe to come forward.
The Home Office told the programme it will “not use this tragic incident as a reason to carry out immigration checks on those involved”.
“We will not charge people who need to replace documentation that has been lost in the fire,” it added.
Five of the victims have so far been named.
Anthony Disson, 65, Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye, 24, also known as Khadija Saye, and Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Khadija Khalloufi, 52 – were identified on Monday.
Mohammad Alhajali, 23, was the first victim to be formally identified.
So far 126 hotel places have been found for residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.
The GRT – which includes local and regional government from across London, central government, the British Red Cross, Met Police and London Fire Brigade – said those due to have been rehoused would be living in Kensington and Chelsea or a neighbouring borough.
Meanwhile, the BBC has learned that four separate government ministers were warned that fire regulations were not keeping people safe.
In leaked letters seen by BBC One’s Panorama, experts warn that those living in tower blocks like Grenfell Tower were “at risk”.
The Department for Communities and Local Government, which received the letters, said work to improve regulation and safety had already been under way.
It comes as police have warned the final number of victims from the fire in the 24-storey block could still change.
Commander Stuart Cundy said his priority was to identify the people who died in the building and to remove them as quickly as possible.
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