A bingo game continued to play at the Gala Bingo Hall in Coatbridge on 19th January despite a pensioner collapsing and later losing her life. Players were shocked that the game continued, but staff informed all players that it was company policy to keep playing; all those capable of assisting, attended to the pensioner. Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Before the paramedics arrived, a Gala Bingo employee designated as a first aider, worked on the collapsed woman as the game continued. Paramedics then went on to use a defibrillator in the busy bingo hall.
Many players were left feeling quite shocked by the event, as the woman was carried out on stretcher. Some fans considered the actions of the bingo hall callous, believing they should have stopped the game.
By the next day, games were continuing as normal and reactions to the night before were mixed. One customer said such events weren’t uncommon and it was regular practice to continue to play bingo at Gala Bingo and many other bingo halls in these circumstances. Certainly as the management of establishments like this know only too well that they would get more complaints if they didn’t. Another important point to note is that many of the games held at branded bingo halls like Gala are linked to other halls nationwide and so they can’t just be stopped in one hall, as they’d be affecting games across the country, potentially costing the business thousands. It’s hard to think of things in such harsh, emotionless terms when a life has been lost, but the company has many factors to consider when making rules like this.
From the point of view of Gala Bingo, a representative explained that they have set policies for these emergency situations. The initial aim in any emergency is to keep the environment calm and stable, to reduce the stress on the customer who has fallen or been hurt as well as their friends and family. All Gala Bingo sites have trained first aiders who also need a calm and stress free environment to provide the best care they can. With this incident in mind, the company explained it was deemed appropriate to keep the bingo game going whilst trained staff tended to the customer correctly before the arrival of the emergency services.
When we think about the clientele of the traditional bingo hall, it’s not hard to imagine that a percentage might be suffering from health problems and as a result, shocking events like this do occur on occasion. The right procedure with regards to the bingo game is something each company needs to consider individually but something which should respect all players and customers.