Bingo continues after woman collapses

BINGO fan Lee Barber today said was left "stunned and disgusted" when a game carried on at an Ipswich bingo hall after a woman collapsed and stopped breathing.

BINGO fan Lee Barber today said was left "stunned and disgusted" when a game carried on at an Ipswich bingo hall after a woman collapsed and stopped breathing.

The 34-year-old train driver also claims he would have scooped the £500 top prize if he had continued ticking off his card and not rushed to the aid of the woman.

But instead of carrying on with the game Mr Barber, of Oulton Road, Ipswich, jumped to his feet and demanded it be stopped so an elderly woman could receive treatment.

However to his dismay, the caller at the Mecca Bingo hall on Lloyds Avenue told him he had to carry on as it was "company policy" to finish the £500 jackpot house bingo game.

The drama occurred as Mr Barber and his pal Adrian Fisk, 37, were just starting a game when they noticed the woman slump forward.

Mr Barber said: "They caller announced if a first aider could come to the main hall as their first aider was checking the national games results at the other end of the hall.

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"The bingo caller said we must carry on playing the game and carried on calling while the lady, who was seriously ill, was not being attended to.

"I then jumped up, pulled my phone out of my pocket and made a 999 call, but I couldn't hear the controller due to the fact the bingo game was carrying on.

"I feel stunned and disgusted. I couldn't just sit and do nothing but they made me feel that I was in the way and I should have just carried on with the game."

Jackie Abraham, a spokeswoman for Mecca Bingo confirmed that it was company policy in line with consultation with the ambulance service to continue the game during an incident like this.

She said: "If there is a crowd of people around, it might distract the ambulance crew from their job.

"Our customer service manager was there who is a qualified first aider and has been for many years. We take our health and safety issues very seriously."

Ms Abraham also added that an investigation was being carried out into Lee's £500 and that he had been offered some form of compensation.

In the confusion, Joni Moore, who is a trained nurse and on vacation from America, went to the woman's aid.

She said: "I checked for a pulse and could not find one but it was hard to tell in her position so I said to one of the attendants that we needed to get her on to the floor."

Eventually the staff agreed to help move the woman onto the floor where Ms Moore, 50, started to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

She said: "Eventually she roused but she was very disoriented. They did not stop the bingo and I could not hear her at all."

Mr Barber praised Ms Moore for her actions: "She was great," he said.

After receiving medical attention during the incident, which happened on Sunday, the woman who collapsed declined to go to hospital and asked for relatives to be called to take her home.

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