Often seen by employers and managers as a ‘tick in the box’ exercise or just another mandatory training requirement (that some pay lip service to) – the cost of not having trained First Aid trained staff was laid bare for all to see recently.
The Daily Mail recently reported on the tragic death of a disabled man in a fast-food outlet in Cheltenham earlier this year. Whilst we can perhaps ignore the questionable description of customers stepping over him whilst in his death throes (to allow them to order their food), there are nonetheless real issues that must be highlighted.
First Aid training is not just a ‘tick in the box’ exercise that is begrudgingly received in order to satisfy governmental edicts – it is an invaluable life skill that benefits employees, customers and the public at large.
At the Coroner’s inquest, it was revealed that – perhaps due to a mixture of apathy, fear and a lack of training – it was over 3-minutes after the gentleman started choking on food lodged in his oesophagus before anyone came to his assistance. Once help ‘arrived’ the good Samaritans did the best they could – but unfortunately proceeded to place fingers down his throat in a frantic attempt to dislodge the blocked food item. This well-intentioned act may well have succeeded in only lodging it further still.
Step 1 in any medical emergency or issue: CALL FOR HELP. Ring 999
Never shove your fingers down the throat of a suspected choking victim
Ask a suspected choking victim to cough; if they can’t then impart 5 back blows then 5 abdominal thrusts. If object has not dislodged, repeat.
Would this man have lived to tell the tale if the front of house staff were first aid trained? Would this man have survived if members of the public were first aid trained? We can’t know for sure; but his chances would have been drastically enhanced if they were.