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  • FIRST POST
    • skot4th
    • By skot4th 16th Oct 16, 7:14 PM
    • 2Posts
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    skot4th
    Medical incident at work - New Suit ruined - Whose responsible?
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 16, 7:14 PM
    Medical incident at work - New Suit ruined - Whose responsible? 16th Oct 16 at 7:14 PM
    On Monday of this week I was in a meeting at work with about 20 or so colleagues. One of them had only just joined the company and was staying over in Manchester (head office) as he was based in the London office.

    Unfortunately during the meeting this colleague had an epileptic fit, falling off his chair and banging his head. Our office first aider was on in the room in seconds, and asked for coats / jackets to be placed under his head to prevent him from injuring himself further. As my suit jacket was on top, it ended up being covered in blood.

    Later that day I took the jacket to Timpsons to be dry cleaned, however they refused to take it as the blood hadn't fully dried, so returned it again on Wednesday. Yesterday I picked it up to find that most of the blood / saliva was still on the suit. Timpsons have offered to re-clean the jacket, however say that there's no guarantee it will come out.

    I wasn't to bothered about the cost of cleaning the suit - A couple of pound is nothing compared to the guy having a fit and injuring himself, however I am a little bit more concerened if the jacket is ruined, seeing though it cost almost £200 only 3 months ago.

    My question is, if the jacket / suit is ruined, who's responsible for replacing it? I don't want to come across as cold hearted, however I also don't want to be massively out of pocket.

    Is it

    My employer - They specify that you must wear a suit to work. The culture dictates that this is a nice suit and the phrase "look like your going to a weddingicon is often banded about. It was my work's first aider who placed the jackets under my colleagues head, as well as the presentation video (put together by the marketing team) without no warning of flashing lights which seemed to set his fit off.

    My colleague - He was staying at head office for a week and didn't bring his epilepsy medication. He knew that he was prone to fits (as he said the following day) but didn't speak up when told we were going to watch some videos on the projector.

    Me - That's life. Things happen beyond our control and I have to live with it.

    As I say, I don't want to come across as harsh. I'm not particularly fussed paying £10 to have the jacket cleaned. I just don't want to be £200 out of pocket (more if the suit is no longer sold as the trousers would be useless without a jacket) when it wasn't my fault.

    I'm going to wait until I get the jacket back from the cleaners for the second time before raising the issue with work.

    Also, if you were in this position (had your clothing ruined) or my colleagues position regarding the ruining of someones suit what would you do?

    Thanks in advance

    Scott
Page 2
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 17th Oct 16, 8:37 AM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    Put in reverse, if any of you were the person having a fit would you not feel a requirement to reimburse the OP for damaging their coat, whether intentionally or not?

    There is the arguement as someone has said that the first aider is someone responsible for looking after the employers staff, as such the employer is liable (and to be fair, most good employers would be fine in replacing the jacket)
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 17th Oct 16, 8:59 AM
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    Kynthia
    Don't ask your colleague as there's no way that doesn't look petty. He has a medical condition he can't control and you don't know the ins and outs of whether the medication should be taken daily, what the side effects are, whether it would have prevented the fit as medication isn't a cure and isn't 100% effective for everyone, and how was he to know there would be flashing images in the presentation.

    I think it's worth a discreet ask at work either your line manager or someone in HR who authorises expenses. It was an incident at work and through your trying to help have suffered a loss. Evidence of your loss would help, especially something that can be attached to paperwork (letter from dry cleaners, photo, receipt for suit). Obviously stress you are relieved he's okay and you weren't going to mention it if the dry cleaning had worked, but it's a new suit and not a small amount of money. If you can minimise the cost in anyway but only replacing the jacket or only asking them for a partial contribution then it goes to show that you aren't just about money.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 17th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
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    Nicki
    The person who had the fit won't know the jacket was damaged and IME would be mortified if they were told. Most people with epilepsy are embarrassed and ashamed of their seizures and would hate to be told by a relative stranger that they had lost control of any bodily function.

    Epilepsy is stigmatising enough and it isn't controllable by the sufferer whether or not they've missed a dose of medication so bore off and troll another thread.
    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 17th Oct 16, 9:37 AM
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    GlasweJen
    As someone who suffers blackouts and does tend to bleed all over the place when cut I would offer to pay for the coat or the cost of getting it cleaned.

    I previously paid for a work colleagues silk scarf to be replaced when another colleague grabbed it from the coat rack and used it to stem bleeding from my head. It was expensive but in my opinion my colleague shouldn't have been deprived of her favourite scarf because it happened to be on a chair near me when I collapsed.
    Bounts, Quidco, Shop and Scan, Receipt Hog, Costco Cashback, Debit card cashback

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    • vqmismatch
    • By vqmismatch 17th Oct 16, 3:41 PM
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    vqmismatch
    Its £200. Not a huge sum but enough to be irritating. I'd never mention it at work as being remotely an issue for fear of being regarded there after as a complete rotary engine. If you feel suitably inclined have a go at your household insurance but keep it secret.

    Far better to be remembered for stepping up and offering whatever you could than for shafting the chap at a time when he no doubt will be mortified anyway.

    Jacket and trousers in the washing machine with a lot of biological powder once a day for the next week or so. Cold water and scrub usually gets blood out of cream chinos for me and I have to wash it out fairly frequently.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 17th Oct 16, 4:16 PM
    • 2,109 Posts
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    Undervalued
    I think there is little doubt that the employer is liable. It happened at work as a result of the OP doing as requested by the official first aider.

    That said whether claiming is either tactful or a wise move in the big scheme of things is another matter!
    • SillyOne
    • By SillyOne 17th Oct 16, 7:22 PM
    • 92 Posts
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    SillyOne
    Editing back in: Raise it with the company - If they balk (sp) take to wearing cheap suits or 'whatever' at work and explain if/when they bring up the dress code - Yes I had a £200 suit but X happened to it.. Statement of fact with no blame -- if it's no go with the company! You can't come up with £200 for a new one from nowhere!! Assuming you can't just write it off and replace it.
    Last edited by SillyOne; 17-10-2016 at 9:00 PM.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 17th Oct 16, 7:37 PM
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    Nicki
    Rescue medication is administered during a seizure by a third party so wouldn't have stopped the colleague having the fit or banging his head would just have (possibly) shortened the duration and prevented multiple fits. With my child, the instructions are to administer if the fit has lasted longer than 5 minutes.

    Would anyone there have known how to administer the rescue medication safely even if he'd had it. Typically due to the nature of epilepsy, it's either rectal or buccal (i.e. through the membrane of the cheek).

    However do crack on with disciplining the employee for having a protected disability which happens to make his colleagues uncomfortable
    • SillyOne
    • By SillyOne 17th Oct 16, 7:43 PM
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    SillyOne
    OK, I have misunderstood about the nature of the medication so I'm sorry about that. I certainly don't think they should "discipline someone for having a disability" but had assumed the medication could be taken (if they had it with them) once the situation started to happen.

    Btw: have been disciplined (official HR type warning) myself in the past for something that was the outcome of an actual disability (actual as in, meeting the guidelines. Not as a comparison with the OP!). Mental health in that case.
    Last edited by SillyOne; 17-10-2016 at 7:46 PM.
    • curlytop12
    • By curlytop12 17th Oct 16, 7:51 PM
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    curlytop12
    You chose to give to your jacket to aid the first aider-he didn't wrestle it off you...it's your responsibility!
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 17th Oct 16, 8:43 PM
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    theoretica
    If the presentation was indeed flashing in the frequencies which are most likely to trigger photosensitive epilepsy, personally I think it is the marketing people who should be explaining themselves for causing this incident, and footing the bill to rub in the lesson.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 17th Oct 16, 8:55 PM
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    unforeseen
    The frequencies that can cause it are in quite a wide range from 3 per second (lower than guidelines for strobes) to a flicker caused by the mains (50hz) and greater.
    • phill99
    • By phill99 17th Oct 16, 11:19 PM
    • 7,606 Posts
    • 6,837 Thanks
    phill99
    The worse thing about this forum is that people act with righteousness without ever being in command of the full facts. And here we have such an example.

    A guy is taken ill and messes up someones jacket and people are actually suggesting it was the injured guys fault and he should be held responsible and you are happy to apportion blame.

    Some of you people should just look at yourselves in the mirror. I really don't know how some of you sleep at night.
    Eat vegetables and fear no creditors, rather than eat duck and hide.
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 18th Oct 16, 8:06 AM
    • 5,389 Posts
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    Takeaway_Addict
    The worse thing about this forum is that people act with righteousness without ever being in command of the full facts. And here we have such an example.

    A guy is taken ill and messes up someones jacket and people are actually suggesting it was the injured guys fault and he should be held responsible and you are happy to apportion blame.

    Some of you people should just look at yourselves in the mirror. I really don't know how some of you sleep at night.
    Originally posted by phill99
    So if you were the guy who had the fit and knew you'd damaged a coat you'd presumably not bother to offer to replace it?
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 18th Oct 16, 11:20 AM
    • 5,824 Posts
    • 10,425 Thanks
    GlasweJen
    The worse thing about this forum is that people act with righteousness without ever being in command of the full facts. And here we have such an example.

    A guy is taken ill and messes up someones jacket and people are actually suggesting it was the injured guys fault and he should be held responsible and you are happy to apportion blame.

    Some of you people should just look at yourselves in the mirror. I really don't know how some of you sleep at night.
    Originally posted by phill99
    Maybe for the first few seizures when it's just as big a shock to the sufferer as it is the everyone around them but once you're recovered to the point where you're so comfortable with your seizures that you're working and getting on with life then yeah, you need to step up and be responsible. Other people can't be expected to lose their nice things because you have a medical condition.

    It's a £200 suit jacket and the OP has tried to get it professionally cleaned, it's not as if he went up mid seizure and said "here mate, you're bleeding on my new jacket so give me £200".
    Bounts, Quidco, Shop and Scan, Receipt Hog, Costco Cashback, Debit card cashback

    NOT BUYING IT
    (unless it's on offer and can get my loyalty points)
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 18th Oct 16, 11:24 AM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 7,882 Thanks
    KiKi
    I certainly wouldn't tell the colleague. I think I'd discretely mention it to someone appropriate (your line manager / director / HR if you have someone suitable like an HRBP) and explain the situation, but I'd make it REALLY clear that my priority was his health, and you were wondering if - as a one-off gesture - they'd contribute towards a new suit.

    I think that's all you can do. Hopefully a nice employer would do this as a one off.

    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • Noctu
    • By Noctu 18th Oct 16, 2:49 PM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 1,678 Thanks
    Noctu
    I would mention it in passing to my manager, as in 'so glad he is OK, he had a really nasty bang to the head, I didn't realise how bad it was until I got my jacket back afterwards and it was covered in blood, Timpsons can't even get it out'

    If they twig, and offer to reimburse you - happy days

    If not - put it down to one of those things.
    • Adereterial
    • By Adereterial 19th Oct 16, 1:29 PM
    • 474 Posts
    • 644 Thanks
    Adereterial
    I'd be concerned that Timpsons couldn't get saliva off the jacket - that's not hard to clean. Before you do anything as callous as asking your poor colleague to reimburse you, take it to a good, specialist cleaner and see what they could do. Dried blood and saliva will dissolve into water, so if you can still see dried on marks, as opposed to stains, there's every chance a specials cleaner could do more with it.

    But on no account should you ask your colleague - at all.
    • Jackieboy
    • By Jackieboy 19th Oct 16, 1:53 PM
    • 251 Posts
    • 399 Thanks
    Jackieboy
    I'm just surprised that the colleague hasn't asked about your jacket as he must know he bled on it.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 19th Oct 16, 3:48 PM
    • 1,099 Posts
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    I'm just surprised that the colleague hasn't asked about your jacket as he must know he bled on it.
    Originally posted by Jackieboy
    Do you think he asked for an itemised list of things that were used as pillows and who they belonged to?
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