When two Russians were poisoned in the sleepy English cathedral city of Salisbury, the community was faced with a unique and unknown threat. A highly toxic, military-grade nerve agent had been used to try and kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Written off for dead, they were saved by staff at the local hospital.
"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," says Salisbury Hospital's Intensive Care consultant Dr. Stephen Jukes.
"There was a real concern as to how big could this get. 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," says Salisbury's Director of Nursing Lorna Wilkinson.
"We have a total world experience of treating three patients for the effects of Novichok poisoning. And I think it's safe to say we're still learning," concludes Salisbury's Medical Director Dr. Christine Blanshard.