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Is there an easier way to know your limits?

With the NHS struggling to cope with the influx of patients coming through the A&E doors, is this the time to start holding ourselves responsible for our actions? After witnessing a drunken brawl on a night out in Bristol recently, it got me thinking about how student life can be tainted with such life changing circumstances. On a Tuesday night in September, I unfortunately had to look after a young fresher who had smacked his head on the concrete. With blood spurting everywhere, it was hard to decide whether to scream or faint…

As I cocooned myself into my squeaky leather jacket, I stood impatiently at the back of the annual 1am que at the chip van. Surrounded by sick on the floor and freshy freshers scrapping and kissing their new best friends. It was the sight of a Bristolian night out. Where far too many youngsters, haven’t mastered their alcohol consumption yet. With the new student year in full swing, I unfortunately saw a sight which is becoming much too common in our student society.

“MATE, LET IT GO, DROP IT MATE, JUST LEAVE HIM MATE!” I turned my head to the sound of the approaching noise, as I watched the commotion get louder and closer, with the cold September evening started to form. The taxi men stayed in their black taxies, the chip man stayed in his chip van, and the young students in the que took no notice. Why was I the only one that seemed bothered?

The fighting started to get rougher. Bystanders were finally starting to turn heads; But the two young groups of boys were still fighting aggressively, like a bunch of wild animals. Throwing punches in all directions and kicking the ones who had fallen. All of a sudden, the atmosphere dramatically changed.

A big, stocky boy with dark brown hair, punched a tall skinny, pale boy square in the face. The boy stumbled back, arms flying in the air, loosing his balance, falling backwards and, smacking the back of his head on the concrete. The horrendous crack between the boys head and the concrete resembled the sound of a football being kicked against a wall, which echoed through the open street. Then – there was silence.

No one spoke, no one moved and no one knew what to do. It felt like a life time, just staring at this poor boy who was motionless on the floor. Then, a small trickle of blood eased slowly out of the blonde boys mouth. That’s when the screaming started. The girls around him were screaming and crying and falling to the floor. Friends, strangers and passers-by were just staring at him, open mouthed, feeling helpless and lost. The stocky boy who punched him ran off into the night, without a second glance.

I am not sure what came over me, whether it was motherly instincts or an adrenalin surge, but I just had to do something. I pushed through the emotional crowd and managed to kneel down to him. I sighed with relief when I saw that his eyes were finally open. Drunk, confused and scared, he managed to splutter through the blood that his name was Josh Cooper. I confidently said to Josh “My name is Katie, everything is going to be ok, you’re going to be fine! You’ve just had a nasty bump and a doctor will be here soon.” Amazingly, he nodded and smiled.

“Give me that t-shirt!” I shouted urgently to a young girl, who was clutching onto a free, fresher social t-shirt. “Whhaat?? What t-shirt?” she responded, tears streaming down her face. “The one in your hand!! I need to stop this bleeding NOW!” She finally relented and I held the t-shirt against this boys blood pulsating head.

I looked up and saw all these desolate faces staring down at me, trusting me that I knew what I was doing. What the hell did I know? I just knew I had to stop this bleeding. Now.

“You – hold this t-shirt against his head and hold pressure” I stated to the boy next to me. “And someone phone an Ambulance!” Not waiting for a response, I sprinted through the crowd and went back to the chip van. “I need napkins – now!” “Why do you need napkins? I need these for my customers!” “There is a boy bleeding from his head right in front of you!! If you don’t give me these napkins he will die!” I ignored the tears that tried to seep through my authoritive tone.

By the time I had got back to the boy, the t-shirt was a deep burgundy colour and the smell of salt and rust danced around my nose. I kept my cool, and held the t-shirt there with the napkins on top, putting all my force onto the wound. I kept speaking to Josh and tried to keep him awake.

5 minutes had passed. No ambulance. 10 minutes had passed. No ambulance. My hands were red and I was running out of napkins. 15 minutes had passed. No ambulance. “Phone the ambulance again, where are they!” I cried, 20 minutes had passed. Josh was loosing consciousness. 25 Minutes later, I felt a warm hand press onto my shoulder.

Hi love, my names PC Davis, what’s going on?”
“Urm, hi, I was in the que for the chip van when I saw this boy get punched in the face.”
“Ok, can you tell me what happened?”
“Urm, he fell back and cracked his head open! I’ve been trying to stop this bleeding but I can’t! The blood just keeps streaming out all over the pavement; I just don’t know what to do! We’ve phoned the ambulance so many times and they still haven’t turned up!”
“It’s ok love, you have done the right thing. We’ve radioed in the ambulance and it’s on it’s way. I’ll take it from here.”

I stood up shakily and stumbled backwards. I looked down at the scene in front of me. It looked like there had been a murder. Blood. A pool of blood surrounded the boy. All over his face, his body, the musky grey pavement had a coat of blood red seeping across it, falling into the cracks. I looked down at my hands and they weren’t pale. They were red. What had just happened?

“Excuse me, Im PC Wilson, did you see the fight? I just need to ask you a few questions about what happened…..”