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Friday, 12 April 2013
I failed to save Jesus (Hey Zeus!)
The summer of 1989 on Ibiza quickly became notorious for the Ecstasy drug, with Acid House Music as its musical accompaniment. The Island was suddenly bulging with people; the bars and clubs were packed, the hotels full and the beaches hadn’t a foot of sand to drop a towel onto. What had been predicted as a weak summer for the island with business owners all preparing for a slow, torpid summer had morphed into probably the best summer of their lives in terms of numbers of people suddenly arriving and the profits to be made by those ingenious bar owners who could differentiate their offering from the mainstream. If the high-end bars and clubs in and on the road to Ibiza town were packed, by comparison the cheaper clubs in San Antonio were full to bursting.
The presumption that these revellers drank only water was dispelled, as the clubbers were getting hammered prior to going to the clubs. I believe the clubs themselves intentionally ran out of “Agua” in order to make more money selling alcohol. The street outside our bar had become a main drag from hotels on the outer-reaches of town to the bars in the “West End” of San Antonio and we were ideally placed to capture trade wandering into town and out to Café’ Del Mar.
One July evening around 11pm Dave and I were serving customers as normal. Groups of young guys and girls were heading past the bar toward Kings and Tropicana’s, two of the most popular bars on the main street and we were picking off the occasional reveller and diverting them into Bar Confusion. Football Club shirts, the mainstay of any working class holiday wardrobe were highly visible as groups wearing the shirts of Leeds, Manchester United, QPR, Liverpool and various other clubs ambled by, bottles of beer in hand. We attempted to minimise the number of football-shirt wearing holidaymakers entering the bar through the strategic placement of posters by the front doors that read; No Football Shirts, No Football Shorts, No Disco Music! Written in bold black lettering, it was a warning, as we couldn’t be arsed constantly trying to break up fights and having to listen to football chants over the volume of the music we’d so lovingly organised.
I’d just knocked up a couple of “Twats and a Bastard” when I noticed that everyone had congregated at the door or just outside and no one was left to serve and even Dave was stood by the door. I walked over to see what the distraction was and saw a young guy under 20 years old, stretched out in the middle of the street. I asked what had happened and someone said he’d fallen off the back of a moped. No one was with him and nobody was going to see if he was ok. I told Dave, “Keep and eye on the till,” (as if he needed telling), “I’m going to see if he’s ok.” I walked over and knelt down beside him expecting him to come round or start moving as I presumed he was drunk and had knocked himself unconscious when he fell. My first aid knowledge was good as we had been taught how to deal with basic injuries and the 4 B’s (Breathing, Bleeding, Breaks and Burns) in the Army and I’d taken a First Aid course in Civvy Street.
This guy was out cold though and placing my head against his chest I couldn’t discern any breathing nor heart beat. I tried to find a pulse on his neck but failed and began to get really concerned as to his injuries. I pulled my t-shirt over my head and folded it into a pad, to place under his head. I tipped his head back to open his airway and saw blood all over my hand coming from the back of his head and it was starting to soak into the white t-shirt, a vivid deep red patch spreading as I watched. Fuck!
After checking his airway was clear and that he hadn’t swallowed his tongue I placed my mouth over his and began breathing for him, interchanging with compressions on his chest. I was not getting a response from anyone else; bystanders stood silently watching as I me performed CPR and not a sound was coming from any of them. After what must have been a few minutes of my performing CPR I was still not getting much back, in terms of a heartbeat except for faint pulses that appeared in his neck and disappeared as quickly as they arrived. I needed help and I shouted out, “Does anyone here know CPR? For fucks sake someone call an ambulance and somebody please help me; Christ!”
A woman pushed her way through the crowd, shouting at people to get out of her way. She knelt beside me and said in a Welsh accent, “I’m a nurse, what do you want me to do?” Fantastic! At last someone was helping and I told her to manage the chest compressions synchronising herself to my breaths and she fortunately knew the pace to go at. Performing CPR is not a nice thing to have to do; Ribs crack and pop as you do it, and modern thinking now recommends simply carrying out chest compressions at a rate of up to one hundred per minute. Not necessarily to restart the heart, moreover, it’s to move blood around the body to the brain thereby stalling brain death until trained Paramedics with drugs and equipment arrive and take over. As it was back in 1989, it was just she and I and we were trying like mad to get this kid breathing on his own and his heart working again.
I was aware of people around me and Dave said later that quite a crowd had gathered as we worked on the guy. I was not overly concerned with the wound to his head as I had my padded T-shirt against it and applied pressure as I held his head and breathed for him. After what seemed an age and was certainly long enough to get me very concerned indeed for the kid (for that was what he was and he looked more likely to be under than over 20 years old), I got a pulse! I told the Welsh Nurse to stop compressions and put my ear to his chest. I heard a faint heart beat and shallow warm breaths cooled against my lips as I held them over his; barely touching but close enough to feel the faint warm air blowing out of his mouth, evidence that these were his own attempts to breath for himself. I heard someone call out that an ambulance was on its way and relaxed a little knowing that a team of fully equipped paramedics were coming to help.
Bartolo came out of Bar Cantiti and gave me a blanket to cover the guy up and I spoke to the nurse to say that we should lay him on his side, in the recovery position and allowing me to take a look at his head wound. We rolled him over moving his legs into position and placing an arm under his head as he lay on his side, my shirt under his head was now stained a deep crimson. I parted his hair to reveal a deep slit in his scalp running across his head about 4cm long, with congealed blood at its edge and fresh blood, oozing out and onto my fingers. I looked up and I saw an Estate car had parked at the end of the paved street some 50 metres away, a Red Cross sticker slapped on the rear door and walking towards me was a chubby middle-aged guy wearing slacks and a shirt; looking for the entire world like he was popping out for a drink in town.
He walked towards us and when he was stood over the kid he looked down, obviously taking in the situation. Instead of leaping into action he turned around and walked back to the car, where he collected a stretcher from the rear of the vehicle. He wandered (seriously) back down the road to us, pulling the stretcher behind him. He did not speak any English but Bartolo translated as I said what I had done and what I felt the patient now needed, all the time he was nodding his head, saying, “Si.” I could not see anyone else with the driver so asked where his colleagues were. “Only him,” said Bartolo, “he is alone, no one else is coming.”
The driver did not have any medical equipment as far as I could see and he simply attempted to lift the guy up by the shoulders to put him on the stretcher. I was incensed and shouted for him to stop, which he eventually did and the nurse and I along with the driver lifted the poor kid onto the stretcher together. There was no neck brace or body board and even a brief examination was not done. “Bartolo,” said, “tell this guy I must go with himas the kid cannot breath for himself and will die if no one is looking after him.” Bartolo repeated my concerns in Spanish to the driver, who immediately raised his hands and started shaking his head and said “No, nadie va a venir con nosotros.” (“No, nobody is going to come with us”). Bartolo told me this and I was totally stunned and appealed with Bartolo and through himthe driver, to let me tend to the kid in the car. The Hospital was in Ibiza Town which was over 13Km away and any idiot could see this kid was not going to last the journey unattended.
The driver hadn’t even examined the head wound let alone applied a dressing! He turned his back to me picked up the stretcher handle and ambled back towards the car, where heslid the stretcher into the rear and closed the rear door. I followed all the way to the car, pleading with him as he shook his head and I looked about me to see if I could spot anyone in authority, anyone who could help me convince this prick that I needed to go with the boy. By the time he was climbing into his drivers seat, I was screaming and swearing at the idiot, Bartolo trying to hold me back. It was all to no avail as the driver drove down the hill towards the harbour and away in the direction of Ibiza Town. I walked slowly back to the bar; Dave and everyone gathered there applauded as I walked past them into the bar. I poured myself a large bourbon and lit a smoke as Dave started serving again and the bar filled up with customers, some coming up to shake my hand, buy me drinks and console me as I explained what I was certain would be the outcome. I was gutted and knew in my heart that the kid would be dead on arrival at the hospital.
The following morning I walked down to the bar as usual to be met by Dave coming out of the door and locking up. He walked over and put his arm around my shoulders, “The kid was dead by the time he got to Ibiza Town Jonny and I’m sorry mate. You did your best.” What a pointless and futile exercise it had been. “That fucking ambulance driver,” I said. “This place is going to be swarming with press any minute so I’m going to the OK Corral for a brew and some breakfast, come with me,” said Dave. We ate in silence apart from the odd word from Reg or Souness as to the why’s and wherefores of Ibiza’s ambulance service, which received muted responses. Late morning and a guy walked in and asked for Dave Bennett, the ex-footballer? Reg looks at Dave through the corner of his eye and said, “I’ve not seen him today; does the guy want to leave a message?” “I’m a reporter with the Sun newspaper, my name is Nick Parker; Dave owns Bar Confusion doesn’t he?” Reg looked around at the faces in the bar and confirmed that Dave did own the bar. “Can I get you a drink?” asked Reg, always one to make a buck. “Coffee please,” said Parker. “Does Dave come in here a lot then?” Reg said he did and gave him his coffee. Parker continued to ask questions about Dave, the bar Confusion and eventually arrived at the main theme of his enquiries, “Did anyone see the hooligans who killed that Spanish kid last night?” The bar went dead and Dave stood up and walked over to Nick Parker.
“What do you mean hooligans killed him? He wasn’t fucking killed by hooligans, he just fell off a scooter you twat.” Parker turned to face Dave, “And you are?” Dave looked at Reg and said, “Just a regular here and you have no idea what happened last night, that kid fell off and hit his head.” I could see this going badly but they carried on talking. “There were loads of football fans around and one of them punched him, that’s what I heard,” said Parker. “You were there then? Do you know any different?” Dave sat on a stool and drew closer to the reporter. “The kid fell off the moped. The lad who works next door went to help and saved that boys life. He was already dead, lying in the street. When the ambulance turns up a single medic gets out and takes the kid to hospital. That’s you’re story. Crap Spanish ambulances and shit medics. But no one cares about that. Its not news. Football fans? They were holidaymakers in football shirts.”
The reporter continued to talk to Dave, unaware of whom Dave was. I went outside and opened the bar doors and stocked up, noticing an increasing number of faces pressing against the windows and looking in. Mid-afternoon and Sky and ITV News had turned up asking questions and searching for both Dave and I. After a day trying to avoid the press; basically they believed the guys responsible for the death had been in our bar and had run off afterwards and actually ran reports in the UK saying this; Dave owned up to Nick Parker and he ran an exclusive story in The Sun Newspaper, saying what the truth was as far as Dave knew the truth to be. The following day I was interviewed for Sky News and after that, local news reporters besieged my Mum’s home in Norwich. They eventually went away after she provided a picture of me to them (a decent one thank god) and some background information. Running alongside all of this was the fact that Bar Confusion was then closed by the local Police due to a Liquor Licence and Noise complaint (which was bollocks) and remained closed for 3 days! The press ran the story that the bar was closed out of respect for the lad who died but we knew otherwise.
Jesus Moreno was 19 years old and had been with a friend for a night out in San Antonio. He lived near Ibiza Town with his parents and older brother, Raoul. It transpired that the Moped driver and Jesus, neither wearing a helmet, were idling slowly behind a group of English tourists, (who were of course wearing a variety of English football shirts). The moped driver was revving the engine behind them, zipping forward to almost hit the tourists before backing off. The holidaymakers eventually responded by turning to face them and one feigned a punch. At which point the driver opened the throttle and popped a wheelie. Jesus fell backwards off the bike striking his head on the concrete. Rather than stop to help his friend the driver sped away down the street and never returned to the scene. I hopethat over time, he came to reflect upon what had happened and his life changed for the positive because of it.
Raoul came to find me a few days later and thanked me for trying to save his brother’s life. I was particularly upset when meeting him and we sat together and cried; thebrother for his loss and me? I cried for the shame I felt at not insisting that I ride with Jesus to Hospital and for the waste of such a young and a promising life. One would be right in questioning the quality of emergency services on the Island. How could they possibly provide such a poor service to their own countrymen, let alone tourists? The same year, 1989, had already seen several tourists die from drug overdoses and questions were being asked in the UK Parliament about these deaths. A few years later the son of a senior member of the Islands government fell from his Motorbike whilst riding between beaches on an isolated Island road. It was high summer and it took over 1½ hour’s for an ambulance to reach him, by which time he’d died from heat exposure and blood loss. The same year, after an investigation into all of Ibiza’s Emergency Service provision, new rules and response times were put in place, Medics properly trained and now the Islands services are among the best in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, I was back at work and the boys from the Live Band around the corner had been to see me, I was to award the prizes and sing (As George Michael), at the Miss Playa Bella Beauty Contest, across San Antonio bay at the Playa Bella hotel complex. Me? Surrounded by women? What could possibly go wrong there?
Written and Posted by Jonathan Weaver