Fury as Royal visitors step over girl having fit
The father of a young woman with severe epilepsy says the public response to her suffering as she had a seizure in the shop at the Royal Victoria Hospital was completely heartless.
David Burns, from Islandmagee, told the Belfast Telegraph he was "disgusted and horrified" when "cold and callous" people tried to step over his daughter Danielle while she convulsed on the ground with blood spurting from her mouth.
The 18-year-old was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of three and she has been in and out of the RVH on a regular basis since then.
On Wednesday afternoon Danielle was admitted to A&E after suffering a number of seizures throughout the morning at home.
When she was discharged at 4pm, the Burns family made their way to the hospital shop, because Danielle hadn't eaten all day.
"We got as far as the shop and she took another one," Mr Burns explained.
"I know the signs. Her eyes had glazed, her head twisted, her mouth distorted, she yelled with pain and then her body went stiff.
"My wife Annette and I struggled Danielle to the floor to stop her injuring herself.
"She was convulsing and turning blue, which is tough to watch.
"She had bitten her tongue and was spitting blood."
Danielle has been practically housebound for the last two years because of her condition and had to drop out of a veterinary care course. Mr Burns said Danielle's 10-year-old brother Timothy was upset by what he witnessed on Wednesday afternoon.
"It really shocked us all. People were actually stepping over us to get at bars of chocolate and crisps.
"I was crouched down holding Danielle's head. She fractured her nose and split her lip last month, so I didn't want a repeat of that.
"Danielle was starting to come round after about half-an-hour and was receiving oxygen in the aisle from the ambulance crew.
"One guy leaned across us and said to the paramedic: 'Excuse me mate, you see that banana milkshake, you couldn't hand it to me'."
Mr Burns said an off-duty doctor provided great assistance to the family and that shop staff at RVH were brilliant, but the behaviour of members of the public left a lot to be desired.
"Northern Ireland society has changed," Mr Burns added.
"People here are revered for their helpfulness and are supposed to be decent people. Where was the respect and compassion for my daughter?"