It wasn’t until 20 years in the hotel business that I had my first client death, which is very odd as there are many deaths in these establishments and most seasoned hoteliers have seen quite a few.
My father Charles used to tell the story of a client dying when he worked years ago at the Park Lane Hotel, London (now the Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel). There is often dark humour in tragedy, so here goes.
Charles was on duty and received an emergency call to go to one of the guest rooms as someone was having a heart attack. He arrived at the same time as the Head Housekeeper and they both rushed in to find a very large American guest lying on the floor, face up and with his poor wife in hysterics next to him.
His grey complexion and blue lips gave a hint as to what was the cause of his apparent unconsciousness, so Charles and the housekeeper went to their roles immediately. After checking to see if he was breathing (he wasn’t) and seeing that his airways were clear, Charles started to apply heart massage and the housekeeper applied air to the American.
They had a good rhythm going, but Charles knew at this point that the man was already dead and was not coming around, however for the sake of his wife they had to keep going. More pumping of the heart followed by more blows into his mouth.
After 5 minutes, Charles noticed that the man’s chest and stomach were getting bigger and bigger with every breath blown in by the housekeeper. Not sure what to do, they continued on as the ambulance service was on its way.
A further 20 minutes and the hotel duo were exhausted, just as the specialists arrived and relieved the couple of their duties. Not a moment too soon, thought Charles, the guy was gonna explode! They plugged the man into various machines, did their tests, applied defibrillation but had to proclaim him dead.
Once the paperwork was completed between the medics and the unfortunate and distressed wife, it was time to move the deceased. They brought a stretcher and sat the man up…and out came all the air that had been pumped in, but not just out of his mouth, oh no, it came out of his other main orifice as well…