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How do you handle it? It's not like I've never been around bodies before. I have a degree in embalming. I've been to a suicide before. We never got close to the body though, cuz CID had the scene tapped off. Anyways, I'll just past the details from my blog about the call in here:
A call came in last night around 2344 for respiratory distress. I had been at the station for awhile and was just getting ready to leave for home so I jumped in my car to respond. When I got in the area people were yelling that it was across the street in the moble. I ran in yelling 'Fire Department!" but I couldn't find anyone. I came back out on the front porch and saw my chief arriving when a lady shouted, "He's on the back porch!" I went out to find a 42 yr old male slumped over on the floor unconscience and unresponsive. I got him on his back and he was agonal. I did a look listen and feel but it was negative. Chief said to start CPR. I asked if he had a mask and he went to get one. It felt like it was taking forever so I got a towel and wiped the saliva from his mouth and attempted to give him some breaths. I had a hard time getting the airway open. Really not a good time to have a chew in your mouth either. We did two person CPR until another responder arrived and EMS. We were doing compressions and bagging him for about 20 minutes before we got him loaded. He was aspirating and I had a difficult time dealing with that. I managed to keep it in since the family was standing there. Once we got him in the ambulance Chief told me to get in and continue compressions. So I continued CPR while the EMT suctioned, our Chief (who is a paramedic) and the other paramedic were getting lines started and administering meds. The EMT gave me a barf bag so I could spit out my dip. That was a welcomed relief. They got him intubated and I rode in on the ambulance switching off bagging and compressions with the paramedic until we arrived at the hospital and kept bagging him till we got him in a room. It was exhausting. I was dripping sweat onto the patient. All in all we did cpr for almost an hour. I don't know if that includes what hospital staff did or not. We were never able to shock him cuz he never got a rythmn. It was hard watching his mother come into the room and break down telling him that he can't leave yet after the machines were turned off. I gave the lady a hug and told her I would be praying for her but I don't think she even knew I did. The man with her thanked me, I just told him I was sorry. Some of the hospital staff thanked us. One of the EMT's was able to scrounge up a toothbrush and some toothpaste for me since I had done direct mouth to mouth. Chief picked me up in our rescue unit and took me back to the station where we filled out paperwork and then called it a night. I made it about 3/4's of the way home before I pulled over and threw up a little. I took a shower and went to bed but I couldn't really sleep. Kept thinking about the call and how death comes so quickly sometimes. This man had no cardiac history. We think we have such power that we can play God and bring a man back to life. That we have the tools and the medicines and the technology, but the meds didn't work and and we couldn't use an AED cuz he had no rythmn. We live our lives thinking if anything happens to us they can save us; but it's not always the case. My left hand is really sore today. Can't touch it and it's got a knot on it. All that CPR. I've dealt with death before. I have a degree in embalming, but by the time I saw anyone it was already overwith. I had a fatality on a different F.D. once, but it was a suicide with a shotgun so we never even got near the body. So this is basically my first hands on fatality. Chief says they should have called it at the house because he was basically DOA. Turning black too quickly from the nipples up. So how are we supposed to feel after something like that? Are we supposed to feel sad that we lost a life? Do we ignore the fact that it happened and just say it's part of the job? Do we feel bad for the family? How much are we supposed to let ourselves get involved?

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I know it's a tough and if you have any semblance of a heart, it will always be tough. The only difference being, you'll come to realize in your mind and heart that you're NOT God and you did the best you could do, to the best of your ability and will be able to sleep. Regardless of all the knowledge we have, all the training and certs, we cannot circumvent the plans God has for each of us. This is what I keep in the back of my mind whenever I roll up on an EMS call, WE don't save lives, God chooses to let them return to us because they have not fulfilled His plan and you work like hell to make sure they live to carry it out!

God Bless you sweetie and I hope you find some comfort in my words.
not being disrepectful to did your best,you did what you trianed to gave this person a second chance at is up to a higher authority as to what happens at that is ok to grieve,but try not to let get you did your best.
You need to realize one thing here brother, and its the KEY thing...In EMS, we do not CAUSE these accidents, illnesses or ailments to our patients, we are merely the ones trying to help them through it. We do what we can for the patient, offer what comfort we can to the family, than we try our best to move on and get ready for the next call. It sounds cold to some, but in order for us to do our jobs we need to have a separation from our patients and their families for just a few minutes so we can focus on our jobs and helping the person. I have done it numerous times, I walked right past a grieving, crying hysterical person reaching out to hold me so I could get a Bag Valve mask out and start CPR on her husband, just to have it all hit me hard at the ER when I see the same person waiting in the ER lobby for news on her loved one. Its THAN that I offer my comfort and condolences and hugs, I offer my shoulder for a while, than off I go to get ready for the next call. Its what needs to be done brother, or you wont be able to help anyone else.
I let it bother me too much once when I was younger, and it affected my ability to help others until I listened to my peers tell me the same advice...Let it go, do not dwell on every call, use it as a learning experience and do not take personal blame for every death. Stay Strong brother and I hope you are ok.
Brian "Moose" Jones


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