Whilst out shopping with her family, Weymouth Detachment Commander, Sergeant Instructor (SI) Karlene Roper was in the right place at the right time for one member of the public, with a surprising link to her detachment.
Local man Geoffrey Dyer was out shopping when he tripped over a card stand. As he tripped, he tried to balance himself on his walking stick, which broke and he fell, banging the right side of his head on the corner of the window/door frame. This resulted in a large wound and heavy bleeding.
A member of the staff went to help, and SI Roper’s mother told the member of staff that her daughter was First Aid trained and called her over to the scene.
Karlene observed that Geoffrey was bleeding heavily from the wound to his right ear but was also concerned that he may have other injuries such as to his hips, legs or arms due to his age. She assessed the situation and asked for a first aid kit and checked that as far as she could ascertain, he had no other visible injuries.
Whilst waiting for the first aid kit to arrive, she used a roll of blue paper to try to slow the bleeding. Once she was happy he had not sustained any other injuries, with some assistance she managed to get him sat up and then onto a chair.
As the bleeding from Geoffrey’s ear was heavy, and because of his age, Karlene asked for an ambulance to attend the scene. She then continued to talk to Geoffrey throughout to make sure he remained conscious and stable whilst treating his ear to stem the bleeding. It became apparent had an arterial bleed as the blood was flowing from the wound in rhythm with his heartbeat, and through talking to him, Karlene found that he was on blood thinning medication.
Due to the size of the wound and the medication, he was losing a substantial amount of blood and a number of dressings quickly became saturated. Karlene ensured that the ambulance call handler was informed of this critical information, and due to the situation, she requested that the ambulance arrive as a priority.
She remained with, and continued to talk to Geoffrey throughout, whilst treating his wound with dressings and pressure to stem the bleeding until the ambulance arrived. As soon as the ambulance and paramedics arrived, she gave them a full brief on what had happened, what she had observed and what she had done.
The Ambulance then took Geoffrey to hospital where he spent 4 or 5 hours being treated and he received about 12 stitches to repair the wound. It was during the conversation that Karlene commented that she recognised him from the Weymouth Veterans Parades from a number of years ago. Geoffrey, talking of his past commented that he used to be the Detachment Commander of Weymouth Detachment of Dorset ACF.
Karlene informed him that she was now the Detachment Commander at the same detachment. Mr Dyer was a former cadet in Dorset ACF and rose to the rank of Captain. He left Dorset ACF in 1983 and went onto to be an adult instructor in the Sea Cadet Corps for another 20 or so years rising to the rank of Major
Following the incident Mr Dyer called in to Dorset ACF HQ asking to contact the lady who had so kindly helped him when he fell. He did not know her name, all he knew was that she was the Detachment Commander at Weymouth and wanted to thank her personally for her taking care of him in a highly professional manner at the scene of his accident.
Dorset ACF Commandant, Colonel Richard Taylor said of the incident; “SI Roper’s actions were first class. She assessed the situation coolly and calmly whilst dealing with the immediate danger to the casualty. Through talking to the casualty, she ascertained critical information and observed that the bleeding was heavy and appeared to be arterial. This, as well as the fact that he had received a head injury and possible concussion, allowed her to alert the emergency services to the priority, and then hand over the casualty to the ambulance crew in a most professional manner.”
He added;: “Her actions throughout were of the highest standard, and she is deserving of formal recognition for her cool professionalism.”