On Sunday, when Enzo Almeni detonated a bomb outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital, life inside the hospital carried on as normal as possible, with staff going about their duties and caring for their patients.
One of those patients was Shelley Curphey, who was in the hospital with her new baby Beatrix and partner Greg. Now safe at home, Shelley told Gef what was going on inside the hospital and praised the staff at the hospital for their calmness despite what was going on outside.
‘At the time we weren’t aware. We had just come up from the front entrance about 45 minutes prior and headed straight for the neonatal unit to see our daughter who has been born two days prior. We decided to head back down for some snacks and air when a neonatal nurse got off the phone and notified us that we couldn’t leave the ward as there had been an incident at the front of the hospital. All wards were in lockdown. We initially thought that maybe someone had had a heart attack or maybe someone was being abusive and thought nothing more of it.
‘The neonatal unit and maternity base we were staying in are next to each other and so we were allowed to return to our room for lunch. It was then that we noticed from our room, which was in the same side as the incident but not in view of it, that the area had been cordoned off with police tape and there was a heavy police presence and plain clothed officers/detectives. At this stage we realised it was a bit more than what we initially thought.
‘That’s when rumours amongst other patients began to circulate which was worrying to say the least. We didn’t want to believe what we were hearing, a Women’s hospital with pregnant mothers, new parents, newborn babies and healthcare workers being targeted. No one was allowed to remove their car from the area. Staff and patients had to make alternative arrangements. The staff must have been like the swan, legs frantic below the water but calm on the surface. They were reassuring patients who had become visibly shaken and upset and it was “business as usual” for them.
‘The day after the incident, when it has been declared a terror attack, the head of the nursing department and neonatal unit, made a well-being visit to each of the parents to discuss with them what had happened and make sure they were being supported and discuss any concerns they had regarding what had happened. That went a long way with us all in terms of feeling supported. The rest of our stay, the hospital had a bizarre feel. Security was ramped up with police roaming the corridors and guarding the new entrance. Everyone entering had their ID or appointment letter checked. Patients were not allowed to leave the hospital unless being discharged.
‘I think surreal would be how I would describe the experience, surreal and terrifying. You could think to yourself all the what ifs but I tried very hard not to. We just focussed on the fact that those what ifs didn’t happen, we were safe and well and so was our newborn daughter, and for that we are so thankful.’