IT WAS A regular morning at the Georgetown offices of the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU) on Saturday August 21; less than an hour before close of business.
A teenage girl who had been standing in line for her mother went to sit a few minutes later when her mom entered the premises to conduct some business.
Moments later Shaniqua Sam, also called Inca, a bubbly secondary school student, was lying on the floor. At first, it was felt the youngster may have been embarrassed to get up from the floor, but Mehalia Williams who was recounting the encounter to SEARCHLIGHT said “I realised that the young lady fell and wasn’t making an effort to get up so I said ‘no something is wrong’ when I really assessed her, I noticed that her hands were in an awkward position I said no, probably she fell and can’t get up.”
By then another employee with a family member who occasionally suffers seizures recognized the situation for what it was — an emergency — and sprang into action.
“She said ‘no you guys can’t put her on her back, put her on her side’ she was on her back and we realised her eyes started to roll back and froth coming from her mouth, so we said okay put her on her side, and she shouted ‘somebody get a spoon and somebody get some rubbing alcohol’, we ran for the rubbing alcohol, placed the spoon on the tip of her tongue so she won’t bite her tongue because you are not really conscious when these things happen; we were there, we were trying to fan her skin,” Williams, a junior clerk at the credit union recalled.
Mom, Ashecia Sam “was in so much shock she was crying – we said we have to get her to the hospital right away,” Williams remembered.
In fact Sam, an Information Officer at the Agency for Public Information (API) said she was “terrified, I don’t even know what I was feeling, I didn’t know what was going through my body at the time because it’s like – you know your child is there, your child needs assistance but you have no idea what to do, so I just stood there and was totally useless.”
It was the first time that her daughter was having a seizure, but the prompt attention of staff at the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Center provided some reassurance.
Inca spent that day and a few more at the Georgetown Smart Hospital where she was warded, and after a battery of tests and scans, was discharged on Tuesday with a clean bill of health.
Sam was full of gratitude for the prompt action of the GECCU staff, describing them in a Facebook post as “heroes” and her gratitude was even more profuse when on attempting to return to the credit union’s offices, she met the entire staff on their way to the Diagnostic Centre to check on Inca and deliver the documents and other items she had left behind.
“I think it was brave on their part,” Sam told SEARCHLIGHT but acknowledged, “I’m still traumatized by it… I keep getting flashbacks from it and every time I do I would cry because at one point she wasn’t breathing so I thought she was gone so I don’t like to remember it at all.”
While the GECCU staff was exposed to first aid training, the programme had not prepared them for dealing with someone having a seizure however, Williams said “we just did