Aisle Be Back…!


Every now and then something happens on a job at scene that makes you despair of the so called human race. What turns normal peoples thought processes into acts of sheer stupidity or mindless moronism (not sure if that word exists but it sounds apt!)

At approximately 1030 on a sunny morning we found ourselves called to a collapse with no further details. On arriving scene we were met by a supermarket assistant manager who quickly explained that staff were carrying out CPR.

Collecting all our kit, resus bag, monitor/defib, drugs bag, we made our way into the supermarket and quickly located the aisle where our patient was. We could see that the two members of staff were carrying out good effective CPR which gave us time to get our kit ready.

My crew-mate started to ventilate the patient who was a male in his fifties/early sixties, using the bag & mask attached to the O2 cylinder. Switching the defib/monitor on I quickly placed the paddles on the patients chest and monitored through the paddles to see what rhythm his heart was in.

This showed VF (ventricular fibrillation where the heart muscle is quivering due to the electrical impulses firing off all over the heart in a totally chaotic way). Defib pads were placed quickly on the patients chest and the paddles charged up. The first shock reverted the VF to asystole (flat line, not normally a good prognosis).

Chest compressions and ventilations were continued whilst I gained IV access in the patients arm for the cardiac drugs which he would need. All I needed to do next was gain full control of the patients airway by endotracheal intubation (passing a tube through the trachea to the lungs which gives protection from aspiration of vomit and better O2 saturation).

This was done within 15 seconds and ventilations could be done automatically now with our resuscitator. It was at this point I called a stop to the compressions so I could look through the paddles again. This is were it all got strange…a little bit surreal…a little bit mad.

From behind me I felt someone pushing me gently to one side. At almost the same time a hand, followed by a arm, reached past my shoulder from behind. Having to turn to regain my balance and locate the source of my shoving I found myself staring into the eyes of a man on a mission.

“What the frig are you doing?” I asked in as much of a professional manner as possible. He looked at me as if I was mad and that I was purposefully in his way. “I need to get to the beans!” he replied. “Cant you see we,re trying to save someones life?” I shouted and pointed to our patient on the floor beneath the shelves of tinned goods.

“But all I want is a couple of tins…!” Luckily the manager saw what was happening and grabbed this fool and dragged him out of our way. We continued with CPR and administered cardiac drugs. VF was evident again and another shock was delivered via the defib. This time a rhythm appeared on the screen with a palpable carotid pulse.

We lifted the patient onto the stretcher and into the truck all the while watching for any changes. Shortly before arrival at the A/E the patient started to make his own respiratory effort and I extubated him. Last I heard he was making good progress in CMU (cardiac monitoring unit).

As for the shopper and his beans…I hope he reflected on what he did, but I guess he wont as too many people live in their own little world and stuff everyone else!


This does happen from time to time. Every crew will have a tale of someone getting in the way. It still infuriates me that people wont wait….I,m off for a lie down in a quiet corner. 


10 Responses to Aisle Be Back…!

  1. uphilldowndale says:

    Gob smacked.
    Well let’s hope the beans give the shopper all the ‘wind’ he will ever need.
    Nice work, you and your crew-mate; and a big pat on the back to supermarket staff, who obviously know more than which on aisle the bean are on!
    (I don’t suppose they know the outcome and just what a difference they helped to make.)

  2. Akk says:

    Score, u got one back!!…

    have you read gcs14? he talksa bout a simalar incident in aus…

  3. traineeparamedic says:

    I’m really shocked at that. Luckily I havn’t come across anyone as ignorant as that yet, although I’m sure it is only a matter on time? Are we allowed to politely tell them their in the wrong or not?

  4. Elliott says:

    In a former life, I was a First Aider in a supermarket, my case was a nan down with epileptic fit and at least a unit of blood on the floor, shelves, first aiders, food etc from a head wound.

    This woman demanded jelly babies and when a colleague threw some at her in total disgust she commenteded not those I want the ones next to them…. she was lucky not to get knocked out by the very p***ed off Manageress.

    Over the five years there were lots of examples of downright callousness

  5. Lucy says:

    I’m always reassured to hear the general public have not lost their skills of total self-centredness and obliviousness to commonsense. Luckily for him you were either too shocked, or didnt fancy having to treat him, to have bounced his requested tin off of his skull.

    I also await your blog, in due course, on attending a totally spurious call to a man you vaguely recognise but cant place at the time (beans numpty) who feels it appropriate to scream and bawl about how he pays your wages and how it is his right to demand a treble-9 response.


  6. MB says:

    When I worked as an LD support worker, I worked with a lass who was prone to epileptic fits. During one of her fits I caught her as she fell (under procedure I know thats wrong) and broke a shower door (bathroom was so small she could have seriously hurt herself). The ambulance service was called out, and the lass was fine. The day after I was called in the office by the manager (who had missed all the excitement) to be shouted at over breaking the shower door and not calling maintenance immediately! Cue confusion from me as there were two bathrooms in the house, maintenance had been called the morning before my manager came in, and she never even enquired as to the health of the lass.

  7. Bao Chi says:

    This might at first appear to be a symptom of the New Millenium. Not so. Here is a story related to me some years ago whilst I was working on a project for a national magazine. I interviewed a retired police officer who, toward the end of his career in the sixties, was tasked as a plan drawer for Scenes of Crime. He was called out to plot a room in a doss house used by immigrant shift workers, where a ‘hot bed’ arrangement for sleeping was in use. ie, as one shift left the dorm which consisted of half a dozen tightly crammed beds to go to work, the previous shift moved in to sleep. There had been an argument between the foreign landlord and a tenant resulting in the tenant being stabbed to death. Prior to his demise he had thrashed out his death throws around the cramped room leaving a very gory scene. As the police measured and recorded, the shift changed, with a handful of tired and unshockable workers trying to climb into the bloodstained beds without turning a hair as to the condition of the room. Is that shocking or what?

  8. kingmagic says:

    Bao Chi…

    “Is that shocking or what?”

    It all depends on the situation…after I finish my set of nights I,m that knackered that I would crawl into my bed even if it contained an escaped, rabid, demented polar bear suffering with infectious diahorrea. And it had fleas…

  9. […] Are people really this stupid? April 10, 2007, 10:50 am Filed under: Annoyances This almost made me cry. The problem is, I know people like that! No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for […]

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