Skip to main content

Quick-thinking Edinburgh colleagues Dean and James save baby Finlay's life

December 2, 2022 10:05am
Share this on

Parents Beth Williams and Jack Allan were given the best Christmas present ever after first aiders Dean Carpenter and James Jenkins saved their 16-month-old son Finlay after he stopped breathing while they were shopping at our Edinburgh Jewel store.

Beth Williams and Jack Allan with baby Finlay whose life was saved by Dean Carpenter and James Jenkins at Asda Edinburgh

Finlay had a febrile convulsion and was burning up, so pharmacy colleague James stripped him down to his nappy while GM section leader Dean called 999 and described the situation to the ambulance call handler.

At one point Finlay's breathing became laboured and then stopped, so Dean calmly massaged his chest until he started to breathe again.

Beth and Jack, who are both 21, say they will forever be thankful to Dean and James for what they did.

Beth said: "We'd all just been to soft play and were about to go into Asda. I'd just put him into a trolley at the front doors and he just flopped sideways and started crying. He was very, very warm.

"I went straight into the shop to find someone who could help. I was a bit panicky at this point, but luckily James and Dean were there.

"The whole situation only lasted about ten minuted but it felt like forever as we didn't know what was going on. We didn't have a clue. Finlay went blue at one point and when he stopped breathing as well. I just don't know what I was thinking, it was just so scary.

"We're so grateful to James and Dean for everything they did for us. It's every parent’s worst nightmare when their baby takes ill and the two gentlemen were incredible.

“Their professionalism, calmness and consideration were so appreciated. They immediately came to Finlay’s aid and we will always be thankful for that.”

Finlay was taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and by that point he'd stopped having seizures.

Beth said: "When he got there they monitored him overnight and took his temperature every four hours and gave him medication to get his temperate down, and he was allowed out the following morning. The doctors thought it might have been caused by his teeth which were just coming through, but he had signs of common cold too. He's totally fine now, thankfully.

Beth Williams and Jack Allan with baby Finlay who was saved by Asda Edinburgh first aiders Dean Carpenter and James Jenkins

Sixty-one-year-old Dean, who's worked at the store for five years, has two grown-up children and two grandchildren, aged five and three.

He said: "I was in the warehouse when I got a call from our store manager Collette McSorley to say there was a little baby involved.

"It's always scarier when it's a baby. When it's an adult you can talk to people and ask them 'how's it going?' and 'where is the pain?' but with a baby you have no interaction whatsoever.

"James works in the pharmacy so he was on the doorstep when it happened. He was comforting the baby as he was still having convulsions and I took over the 999 call.

"The baby was roasting at this time – when the paramedics arrived he was about 38/39C. James stripped Finlay down and put him on a blanket to try to cool him down.

"I was behind the baby and James was at the front. I was relaying information to the 999 handler and then Finlay stopped convulsing and you could hear his breathing, which was just gargling, bubbly and liquid. His temperature then just dropped and he started to go to sleep, which the call handler said was normal after convulsions.

"But just before the paramedics came into the shop he stopped breathing. I just thought 'no, not now' so I gave him a massage, a gentle rub and a squeeze and he started breathing again. He'd only stopped for about a second, but it seemed to go on for 45 minutes. It was scary as hell. Me and James just looked at each other in total relief.

“We are just so pleased that Finlay was okay in the end and we were able to help at such a traumatic time for the parents.

"James and I both went into autopilot and did everything we could to help. The adrenaline saw us through."

Beth Williams and Jack Allan with baby Finlay who was saved by Asda Edinburgh first aiders Dean Carpenter and James Jenkins when he stopped breathing

James, who's 55 and has worked at the store for four months, said: "Finlay was fitting quite badly when I first saw him and he was burning up. He was so hot, you couldn't believe it. So I stripped him down to his nappy to try to cool him off.

"I'm thankful to be trained in first aid and I am so glad Dean and I were able to help Finlay. I would always be there to help anyone and on this occasion our training kicked in and we were a great support to each other throughout.

"When it was over I sat down in the canteen and I was sweating buckets. It was such a relief that Finlay was okay.

"It was great to see them all and Finlay well when they came into the shop a few days later too."

Store manager Colette, who nominated Dean and James for Asda service superstar awards, said the store was proud of them both.

She said: "They are a true credit to the store. I was really impressed with how they maintained control of the situation.

"It was very pressured and emotional with Finlay being so young, but they kept their cool and were absolute professionals. We are so grateful to have them as part of the team at Asda Edinburgh."

Our story


© ASDA 2024