In EMS we give so much of our personalities to our patients that we encounter every day. We are able to literally leave our problems at the door and devote our whole attention to them. I was taken back to a time today, right around when I got my medic. I was working as an EMT-I at the time. I was also doing my 3rd riding field time. For some reason, the grim reaper was absolutely terrorizing the city I worked in at the time. In one month’s time I had a total of 9 cardiac arrests, on just my truck. That’s right 9, an average of 2.25 per week. A co-worker was going neck and neck with me for total tubes for the month. By the end of the month he had hit 11, maybe even 12. The patients are going to die whether we provide the best BLS/ALS care or not. It’s not them that I usually get worried about. My thoughts go out to those that are left behind.
That equals 9 to 11 families that lost their loved ones. Assuming that you have 3-4 family members per home, that’s 27 to 33 people that you are responsible for consoling while “pumping and blowing” for their family members. Feelings are something that we as a profession, do not do well. The ones that stick with you, are not the patients that were just in a mangled car accident, or succumb to a medical condition (most of the time). It’s the families that didn’t get time to say good-bye. It’s the kids that you have to tell daddy or mommy isn’t coming home.
If you have ever read any of my posts you will know that I am a huge fan of the well being of the EMT. Just don’t forget to take care of the ancillary patients on those tough calls you get. In the end they will walk away with a little piece of your care. They will hold onto that moment for a long time, if not for ever.
Take care out there!