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Unhelpful 'strange' man during medical emergency

(190 Posts)
JoMoJaney Sat 19-Sep-20 22:05:43

I'm returning after a bit of time not posting. So this happened last week. Aibu to not be able to help feeling angry about this unhelpful man.

My 16 year old DS was walking home alone after seeing friends at around 8.30 / 9PM. He suddenly felt a 'really strange' sensation in his chest and noticed his 'breathing felt a bit funny' he then noticed that his heart seemed to be beating very very fast. Within a couple of minutes he felt like he couldn't keep walking home as he was feeling very faint and dizzy and like he might pass out. He went to his phone to call me or his dad only to discover his battery was dead. (I'm always telling him to make sure his phone is well charged and believe me we have now had a very big conversation about always doing this in the future, but that's a side issue). Starting to panic my son approached a man who was cycling and who had stopped to do something to his bike and said I'm really sorry to bother you but .... (explained the situation) and asked if the man could ring us for him or just call him an ambulance as he was very scared and something was obviously wrong. Before I come back to the man in question what happened was that he had a heart rate of 210 due to going into an abnormal heart rhythm called SVT (supra ventricular tachycardia). The paramedics established this as the cause and he was taken to A&E. They corrected the abnormal rhythm in A&E with drugs. When I arrived at the hospital it was so scary as I expected to find him in a normal cubicle but he was in the 'resus' area and attached to so many things will all these wires. He stayed in hospital overnight for observation and left the following day after the consultants ward rounds. The condition and what we have to do next has been fully explained to us and it should not have a debilitating effect on his life. He can continue as normal and if he keeps getting these episodes there is a very effective key hole surgery type procedure that can provide a cure. I'm cutting a long story and lots of information short.

I should say the staff of a local restaurant near were my son was taken ill were wonderful. Both me and my son have been to talk to the manager and staff who helped him and thanked them. I'm so grateful those people helped. Also the doctors and nurses - absolutely amazing can not praise enough. My son said the paramedics were also brilliant...... the man who my son approached for help - not so much.

Firstly, my son is a softly spoken and polite boy who isn't especially big for a 16 year old and this was a middle aged man so I don't think there is anything intimidating about my son. My son said to him that he was really sorry to bother him but explained what happened. My son did not ask to use his phone but asked if he (the man) could call us (his parents) or an ambulance for him. He explained everything and I know he must of looked and sounded terrified because the lovely people in the restaurant told me that he did. The man in question had the initial response of "I don't know, it's a bit strange" my son replied I know I'm sorry it's just I don't know what's wrong with me I just (proceed to explain what happened and his symptoms again and show his phone was dead). My son then sat down on the floor at this point because he felt like he was about to pass out. When he sat down and said he felt very faint the man said "now this is getting even more strange. I think you need to walk to one of the restaurants if you need help. I do have a phone but this is just all very starnge". At this point my son decided no matter how faint he felt he needed to do that and walk to a nearby open restaurant. As he walked away the guy said "well I hope you get better but this is all very strange".

I know I shouldn't dwell too much on one person who wouldn't help when the people in the restaurant were so good - called an ambulance, called me, sat him down in the restaurant in a private area, talked to him, tried to keep him calm etc. But my son keeps saying he doesn't understand what the guy meant. Its bothering him because he wonders what the guy thought he was doing. He keeps saying he was "looking at me like I was a crazy person, like I was totally mad." I know it's not common to be approached by someone asking for help / saying that need an ambulance but if someone approached me saying that, without question I'd phone them an ambulance. I'm sure the vast majority of people would.

I'm so grateful for all who helped and I'm focusing more on that but I can't imagine how if anyone of any age approached you in the street in need of help and having an urgent medical problem why you wouldn't want to help. It's frustrating there are people like that. If it was them or their child or any member of their family in need of help presumably they would want someone to help. aibu to think the only one who was 'strange' in all this is him?

Also to add: the paramedics literally wouldn't let my son walk from the restaurant to the ambulance, they brought the stretcher in. My son said he though he could walk as he didn't want to be stretchered out but they said they couldn't let him walk with such a high heart rate and a low blood pressure (apparently the SVT episode can also often cause blood pressure to drop) and that it would be possible to pass out... so its not overkill to say in getting up from where he sat on the floor to walk to the restaurant could have made him pass out.

Obviously I was just so worried and stressed and the thought of someone basically telling him to f off when he needed help is horrible

OP’s posts: |
savetti Sat 19-Sep-20 22:10:18

Let it be
He was probably just nervous as it was something out of the ordinary
Hope your son is better

SchrodingersImmigrant Sat 19-Sep-20 22:12:27

I am glad your son is ok, but i quite get the guy. In an ideal world no one would have to worry that this is a ruse to get a chance to snatch the phone by young lad behaving oddly. It REALLY sucks. But I quite get the concern.

It is different in a restaurant because there is more people.

QuestionableMouse Sat 19-Sep-20 22:12:59

Some people just don't react well to emergencies. Hope you're son is okay.

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Sep-20 22:14:04

I should imagine that the man has some challenges of his own, and unfortunately the situation was more than he could cope with. He did what he could, which is get other people involved.

Dont give him another thought though, and I hope your son stays well.

PotteringAlong Sat 19-Sep-20 22:14:59

He didn’t tell him to fuck off. He told him to go to the nearby restaurant (where presumably there were phones and people and first aid kits and stuff) if he needed help.

He didn’t feel he could help but nor did he abandon him.

ReceptacleForTheRespectable Sat 19-Sep-20 22:16:02

He may have been worried that it was a tactic to distract him and rob him (e.g. someone else runs up and takes his bike while he's calling).... he wasn't to know your son was genuine and you don't know what his history is.

I've been in a similar situation and I did assist the person asking, but I was worried that it might not be genuine, and I kept a wary eye around me the whole time.

YANBU at all to feel anxious about what might have happened. But the cyclist wasn't necessarily BU not to help. In an ideal world, everyone would be happy to help, but sadly things aren't always like that.

SilverOtter Sat 19-Sep-20 22:16:27

I'm glad your son is ok.

There could be any number of reasons why that man reacted as he did. Maybe he was just a dick? Maybe he's been mugged in the past and was inherently wary of being approached? There's just no way to know, so don't give it headspace.

unimaginativeusernamehere Sat 19-Sep-20 22:17:17

The man could have had many of his own challenges or issues. I really wouldn't dwell on it. He gave your son some advice, to go to the restaurant which probably worked out for the best anyway.

Confrontayshunme Sat 19-Sep-20 22:18:07

I think you are all shaken up and wouldn't give the man another thought.

mineofuselessinformation Sat 19-Sep-20 22:19:18

Firstly, I'm very sorry your son went through this, but pleased for you both that it is something that is not life-threatening.
But, I do have to say I have some empathy with the man your son encountered. Sadly, nowadays the situation could have been very similar with someone who had taken drugs, for example.
The man wasn't unkind, just didn't want to get involved for what I'm sure were genuine reasons to him.
What would I do in the same situation with no knowledge of what was happening? I don't know.

StrictlyAFemaleFemale Sat 19-Sep-20 22:19:35

His reaction is a little strange but I can think of reasons.
- worried your son was going to nick his phone/trick him in some way
- not been in the situation before and not knowing how to behave
- never had to think about helping other people
- not feeling that he had the life skills to deal with the situation

Kinneddar Sat 19-Sep-20 22:20:28

Absolutely nowhere in the scenario you outlined has the man in any way told your son to basically fuck off.

He could as pp said have his own issues you don't know what experiences he's had in the past. Look at it from his perspective a random youth has approached him asking to use his phone. Hes possibly been worried it was a scam of some kind.
You only have to read threads on here to realise how suspicious people get of the simplest things

Main thing is your son got help

WorraLiberty Sat 19-Sep-20 22:21:53

Gosh that was very long but I got the jist of it.

Basically, it's one of the oldest tricks in the book. The teenager gets a good Samaritan to get their phone out and teenager's friend jumps out from behind a car, or speeds round the corner on his bike and steals it.

I wouldn't overthink it. He might've been caught like this in the past.

Glad your son is feeling better thanks

Plussizejumpsuit Sat 19-Sep-20 22:22:35

The man probably thought your son was high or something. In which case he probably didn't want to get involved. Or maybe thought he was going to snatch is phone. The man didn't know what was wrong with him so saying he could have passed out getting up to go to the restaurant is meaningless he wasn't to know this. I hope I would be more caring than this but you don't know what parlst experiences the man has had.

Unfortunately you can't rely on people helping in an emergency which is why having a charged phone is so important. Have you spent as much time digging into why his battery was flat?

seadreaming2020 Sat 19-Sep-20 22:22:35

Where I live there are loads of muggings by young teenage boys - usually looking for phones - and sadly this would make me very nervous if I was approached by a teenager. It sucks but it is the world we live in. I do hope your son is ok. Don’t dwell too much on the man, as it turns out he was outnumbered by lots of lovely helpful people so he’s the minority..

Spinakker Sat 19-Sep-20 22:23:04

I agree the man was afraid to help and may be thought it's unlikely your son was having heart problems as he was young. At least he did direct him to a restaurant. Some people panic in these situations and there are so many people who aren't genuine who try and trick people and then rob them when they do help. Probably more intact than genuine cases that this is what he was worried about. Still it was a bit cowardly of him but I'd just forget about it and Maybe just explain to your son about some people faking things in order to rob someone or the possibility that he was scared to help.

ChardonnaysPetDragon Sat 19-Sep-20 22:24:05

Honestly, of everything that happened you choose to concentrate on this?

Let it go.

WiddlinDiddlin Sat 19-Sep-20 22:24:54

Yep, sounds like the bloke was scared, approached by a teenager who quite probably looked like he was on drugs (high heart rate, odd behaviour, looking freaked out, I can see why someone would assume that unfortunately)...

Not everyone we randomly ask for help is going to be capable of offering that help, people fear being dragged into an unknown, unpredictable situation they won't be able to get out of. Some people just haven't a clue and panic.

I hope your son is alright but I tell him not to dwell on it, and in future ensure his phone is charged AND that he carries a medical alert item, possibly an instruction card in his wallet too.

popsydoodle4444 Sat 19-Sep-20 22:28:54

Your son is okay.

Unfortunately in this day and age people are very mistrustful.Had it been me I would have helped your son as I have a child with SVT and can recognise the symptoms of an episode but I'm in the minority there.

1Morewineplease Sat 19-Sep-20 22:29:29

Stop pondering about this man . Goodness knows what the man was feeling at the time. Maybe he felt that a situation was thrust upon him that he couldn't cope with.
Just focus on your son's well-being and be thankful that he's ok.

Let it go.

TheNoodlesIncident Sat 19-Sep-20 22:29:32

Another possibility is he may well have had learning difficulties or something like that, I wouldn't take it personally.

Glad your son got medical attention, so frightening for him, poor chick.

AdoptAdaptImprove Sat 19-Sep-20 22:29:38

None of us really knows how we’d react in such an unfamiliar scenario, OP, and people are wary of crime. The man did at least suggest a plan of action. An invisible illness such as SVT could easily be faked as part of a distraction crime, and an otherwise healthy-looking 16 year old with heart symptoms doesn’t sound like something you’d encounter very often. The man might have been wary of getting too close due to Covid. He might have a learning disability. He might have a mental illness.

Your son thankfully got the help he needed at the time, and you can now move forward. There might have been nobody around when it happened.

As an aside, if your son does have to have a cardiac ablation, I can tell you that it’s really very successful. My mum had severe SVT as part of a rare syndrome, and had an ablation nearly 20 years ago - it was very straightforward and a complete cure.

pandafunfactory Sat 19-Sep-20 22:30:39

How is it the blokes fault that he didn't believe a teenager was seriously unwell? It's not very common.

RaisinGhost Sat 19-Sep-20 22:30:43

Yep, I wouldn't dwell on it. The man may have had challenges of his own as pp said. He may have thought it he was about to get mugged. Since most teens (in fact most people) would rather cut their arm off than be without a phone for two minutes, you can see how a teen saying he his phone ran flat could seem like a ruse. If there were restaurants right there, that may have also added to this - why is he asking me, a lone cyclist, when there are businesses with lots of people, phones, first aid equipment, etc, right there.

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