{August 21, 2012}   Learning to Cope With Death

This morning I got my first “cold call”. Meaning I was called to a residence for a seventy-nine year old female who was unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing. 911 updated us that she didn’t have a pulse, there was no CPR in progress and the body was cold, we were to continue with traffic. Unfortunately, this happens in my town quite often because we have a lot of elderly folks. I think I could get used to dealing with “bodies” instead of patients. We have a saying in EMS: “They’re already dead, anything you do to help them cannot hurt them”. So deceased patients are our safest patients for legal purposes. Anyways… the part I think I’ll always have a hard time with is dealing with the families. They’re distraught whether it was an unexpected death or not. You just can’t help but feel for them because everyone has endured the death of a loved one, we all know how it feels to lose someone.

So my conclusion is: it’s not the bodies that will creep into my nightmares, it’s the people left behind to cope with the loss. It’s the families that will haunt me. How do you cope with that when you have to deal with it all of the time? Can you really become detached from the situation? Can you ever really get used to it?

et cetera