Hello everyone I am a paramedic and I deal with the ghosts the demons you all are on here searching for answers on how to deal with. Here is my story. I was working a shift and the call came in for a cardiac arrest. Supposedly a 54 year old male but as it turned out much to my dismay it was a 4 year old girl. Her family noticed her missing and called 911 we searched for an hour before finding her she had been strangled and thrown into a river where she was found unresponsive. We worked her as hard as we could and that continued until med-flight arrived. We never lost hope! We had PEA on the monitor when the med-flight crew took over.
Now even though it was years ago I can still feel her cold chest under my hands as I do CPR I can smell the blood and vomit from her airway. I can hear the critical care nurse say “I’m saying I’m talking to god right now don’t bother me” as he starts an EJ. I’ve never prayed like I did before that day but as I worked her as the team worked her I asked god to please let her live. She was only 4, she never had her first kiss, her prom, a boyfriend, she was at the age of princesses and pirate ships and fairy tails having happy endings. The next day we got the news that she didn’t have a good prognosis and although they got pulses back she had no brain activity. Later that day they made the call to cease life support and she slipped away forever 4 years old. I didn’t know her at all but I have children of my own and when I got home that night I hugged them I cried but then became silent.
I sat in a room by myself lost in thought. My wife was the one who opened me back up and I cried in a way I never cried before. Honestly as I’m writing this I’m crying remembering the pain the loss and the shame that we couldn’t help her. Many of you will understand this many of you may not. There are days where I hear a song on the radio and I’ll start to remember. It’s not easy to forget and a part of me never wants to. Like by somehow holding vigil and feeling this agony I’ll keep a part of her alive, or at least if there is a hereafter letting her know that in her darkest hour someone cared enough about her to morn her. Not family, not a friend, but a complete stranger who will always wish they could have done more. To anyone who reads this let me say don’t be ashamed about the way you feel. You’re not alone in this fight and it’s hard to see a light in all that darkness, but keep doing what your doing keep doing your best by your patients that is what makes a great medic, nurse, doctor, fire fighter, and police officer!
As my wife said to me that is what our patients need more of . The compassion, empathy, and love that sets medics from heros. My demons still dig my ghosts still haunt me. If it’s quiet enough I’ll go back to that call on that horrible day and let me say some calls never leave you. But there is hope, on the calls where you DO make the difference as a paramedic your the small voice in the darkness saying “hold on”.
– Written by an anonymous Paramedic, 2 years in EMS.