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Epileptic Man Banned From UK Store Following Seizure
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Epileptic Man Banned From UK Store Following Seizure

A young British man who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy has recently been banned from shop B & M in Ashford, England after he injured two customers during a seizure.

Barry Fleming, aged 21,  had an epileptic fit while standing in line waiting to pay at the discount store in Ashford town center on 15 January last.   One woman was knocked over onto the floor and bitten by Barry in the course of the seizure. She had to be taken to hospital and needed two stitches to close the deep cut in her face inflicted by Barry.  Police and an ambulance crew were called out to the incident, during which another two shoppers were also harmed.

Barry has consequently been barred from going back to the store, and now has a grievance against them, as he feels it is a breach of his human rights. Speaking to Kent Online news website, he said: 

“ I am being discriminated against because of my epilepsy. It’s a rare condition, which makes me violent when  I don’t want to be violent at all. That is not my intention, to hurt people.” (Quoted in Kent Online, 28 January 2020).

His partner warns the public to stay away from him as much as possible when they are out. Barry explained how the most recent incident happened when he was in the store on his own; that he started fitting, fell on the floor and pulled a woman down with him, then inadvertently bit her twice.  The store has told him he is a liability, and now not allowed back there. He says that it is discrimination, barring him because he is epileptic and that he should have the same rights as everyone else.

Mr. Fleming says he can have up to 20 seizures per day.  He is not able to work due to his condition, and has a service dog to help him around, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Lexi. The dog alerts people when a seizure is starting, then puts him in the recovery position, and licks his face when he is coming round following the episode.

One of the shoppers who witnessed the seizure in the shop said she thought that the way the staff was restraining him was too forceful and completely inappropriate and that it is a complete breach of his human rights, to not allow him back in the store, because of his medical condition.

Police are currently still investigating the incident, to see if any criminal offenses may have been committed. 

On the face of it, this line taken by B & M does seem very discriminatory and punitive. After all, Barry Fleming cannot help having epilepsy and has the same human rights as anyone else. That being said, the safety of the general public also needs to be taken into account, and businesses also need to retain the right to deny service to certain people if they feel it is appropriate. This is the kind of incident which, if it happened regularly in the store, could stop customers going in there, and hence affect the business adversely. 

 

 

Image credit: www.kentonline.co.uk

Leave a Comment

  1. Lesley Dove
    From the original article which wasn't quoted in full here and most likely fully explains any injuries: One shopper who witnessed the incident has slammed people for restraining Barry while he had a seizure. "The way these people were chaotically restraining him - I saw him come out of the seizure and go back into another one", said the woman, who is trained to work with people epilepsy. "There was a woman holding one of his limbs and it was horrible to watch. "It could've been a more controlled situation and it was completely irresponsible the way they dealt with it. "No one was listening to me and in the end I was left shaking and had to walk away. "I think it's very undignified and borderline prejudice that he has been banned from the store." https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/firstaid/what-to-do It's not rocket science, how to remove dangers and cushion him without harshly restraining and people clearly behaved very badly and ignorantly so if they got injured due to their own use of force it was very clearly THEIR FAULT not his!
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    1. Broken English
      Broken English
      Thank you for your vote and comment Lesley. I agree, the store are discriminating against him by banning him. It is not his fault. I have only mentioned at the end about public safety and the store's right to refuse service to give some balance to the story, as the police are involved in this matter. But from the sound of it, the shop did not handle this situation the right way at all. They should always have a member of staff who is a trained First Aider on duty, someone who knows how to deal with fitting episodes like this. That would be the best way to deal with it. They should also give all of their staff general training in what to do in the event of some kind of emergency or medical episode such as this one. I would have thought that was mandatory under current Health and Safety at Work legislation anyway but maybe they are slipping up, not implementing it as they should be. It does sound like the store was to blame, but then it is a discount store, so I am sure they try to cut costs on things like staff training! And then, this is the result, episodes like this one.
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