Don’t be a numpty this Freshers’ Week

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Photograph: K.G. Hawes

It was the Monday of Freshers Week 2014 – exactly one year ago – and I was stood outside the now non-existent Revolution. I was on The County College JCR Exec at this point; sober as hell, and stood in the rain with the bouncers. It was by no means the most glamorous of evenings: the giddy freshers were all dressed up as animals, whilst I was trying to talk sense into some Freshers’ Reps who had drunk one pint too many. Most of the JCR Exec had decided to head inside whilst a couple of us dealt with incidents as they materialised outside. We took one for the team and endured the elements.

The evening was drawing to an end, and the two of us were ready to call it a night. I looked like a sulking wet dog, so planned on having a quick pint before grabbing a taxi back to the flat. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, as seconds later one of the new freshers joined us outside with a couple of flatmates and her reps. Whilst at risk of sounding a little blunt, it turns out that a large wooden sign had fell on her head inside the bar; she was conscious and functioning, but admitted to feeling a little dizzy. It might just have been the alcohol, but we took her just across the road to A&E as a precaution. Fair enough.

Now, this article isn’t about said girl and her sign fiasco, and neither is it about the lack of help from the hospital receptionist, or the 4-hour wait-time that we were quoted, despite raising concerns of a head injury. In fact, it’s more to do with the scenes that I encountered inside the A&E waiting room.

As we passed from the reception into the waiting area, I found three drunken members of Bowland College, along with a new fresher slumped over a wheelchair. One of the college members was wearing a JCR Exec shirt, whilst the other two were quite clearly his reps. The chap in the wheelchair was foaming at the mouth, making some of the weirdest noises imaginable, and shaking like he’d just shoved his finger in a plug socket. He was an absolute wreck. Vomit covered his front and lap, and alcohol clearly had the better of him. I’d never seen someone in such a state before, and I was genuinely in shock.

But that’s not all. The three people apparently “helping” him were holding his head up, rather than actually letting him vomit, and they subsequently decided that taking Snapchats of the ordeal was more important than actually rushing him through the double doors and onto the ward. I rushed over to offer my help, only to have the JCR member tell me that “I shouldn’t get involved because it isn’t [my] problem” and that I should “stop acting like a big man”.

Alcohol clearly had the better of this chap too, but I wasn’t about to let this new fresher choke on his own vomit because his minders for the evening were too inept to perform basic first aid. I burst through the double doors onto the ward, and found a group of about six nurses milling around drinking cups of tea. Indeed – there was a waiting room full of people, two with potentially quite serious issues, and staff were seemingly unaware. I told them what was happening just metres away, and so they rushed him onto the ward and hooked him up to a drip within minutes.

We all like a drink, especially in Freshers’ Week, but let this be a lesson to Freshers’ Reps and JCR Execs: know your limits, don’t try to stop someone from vomiting, and (for goodness sake), don’t try to refuse the help of a sober Samaritan. I really do dread to think what would have happened if the nurses hadn’t have intervened when they did.

Have some fun, just don’t be a complete and utter numpty.