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Guns and gumption

Posted Oct 29 2010 4:00pm
From a purely ‘dark comedy’ point of view, there are fewer things funnier than hearing that a member of the public who tried to administer an Epipen to a patient having an allergic reaction stabbed himself with it by mistake, or that a guy who was involved in a road traffic collision and whose ‘brains were out of his head’ was reportedly chatting to his rescuer.

Shootings are popular this week; teenagers are killing each other in the name of gang supremacy, pride and God knows what else. A recent news article cited someone as saying ‘why are these young kids out on the streets that late at night anyway?’ The answer is fairly academic – the parents are fundamentally useless and in all probability there is no father-figure in the house. I base this sweeping generality on gut instinct and the current state of our society… nothing more.

Oh, and perhaps I can qualify it with this: I come from a broken home. I had a violently abusive father. I grew up in one of the toughest places in the UK… but to date, I haven’t shot anyone, stabbed anyone or put anyone in hospital. So, no more excuses about ‘disenfranchised youth’ or disaffected teenagers’ because every generation has them but only some of them – the ones with the wrong genes – go around hacking people to death or shooting them with weapons they can afford, thanks to profitable crime or Government handouts.

The bottom line is that young people are dying at the hands of their equals instead of getting on with life and becoming something worthwhile. For that we are all to blame because we don’t get off our backsides and do something about it. Instead we rely on pretty spineless politicians – people who would never make the statements I have just made here, without worrying that their careers would suffer. What the Hell is wrong with the truth and saying it like it is?

Now, a fascinating and unique piece of filming worth commenting on. The BBC’s Helicopter Heroes featured a section in which one of the HEMS Dispatchers had a heart attack and then went into cardiac arrest – on camera. The film crew kept rolling and captured the resuscitation of the man by two paramedics who were with him. Even as a professional paramedic I found this quite incredible and kind of shocking. I don’t think there has been a full-on, as-it-happens, heart attack to cardiac arrest and then CPR filmed like this before. If there has been, it is extremely rare. The man’s identity was never hidden or masked, like they do with other trauma programmes, so he must have consented to the whole thing being transmitted.

It is an important piece of filming because it shows CPR as it really is; violent and disturbing. The man’s arms are still moving as the paramedic pumps down on his chest. You can see agonal breathing; something a lot of people mistake for life and some medical people get confused about at times.

He survives and that’s thanks to the aggressive and effective CPR that was carried out by his colleagues. He would certainly have died otherwise.

This is a bit of film worth watching. I think it deserves an award because it’s bold and brave – both for the poor guy who nearly bought it and the camera crew who had the nerve to keep on filming. I doubt very much they stopped to ask for permission and I’m glad they didn’t.

If the BEEB gives me permission, I will use it when teaching first aid. It’ll be a lot more effective than those dull, old and badly acted things the big first aid companies churn out.

Be safe.

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