A hospital consultant who treated the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for exposure to the military nerve agent Novichok did not initially think the two would survive, he revealed.
Meanwhile, the staff at Salisbury district hospital described the extraordinary situation they faced when the Skripals were brought in for emergency care after being found unconscious on a bench in the town following their attempted assassination on 4 March.
They said there was concern over the potential scale of the incident and if more casualties would be admitted as a result of contamination.
In this regard, Dr. Stephen Jukes, an intensive care consultant, told BBC2's Newsnight in an interview to be broadcast on Tuesday: "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."
On admission, the medical team suspected both were experiencing an opioid overdose, but that diagnosis quickly changed to a nerve agent poisoning.
Besides, Dr. Duncan Murray, the head of intensive care, recalled his shock as he spoke to the nurse in charge, "and it was this conversation I really could never have imagined in my wildest imagination having with anyone".
Once the nerve agent was diagnosed, it was simply a matter of keeping the Skripals alive. They were heavily sedated and given heavy doses of drugs designed to protect them from the effects of the poison to help restart their bodies' natural production of a key enzyme.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team