I got called to a Cardiac Arrest today at work. The family witnessed the patient pass out and hit his head. My Ambulance and the fire department arrived and found the patient with no pulse and started CPR. Our AED shocked the patient 5 times before our ALS (Paramedics) unit showed up. We worked this guy for a solid 45 minutes with ALS (paramedics) before it was obvious that no amount of CPR or ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) was going to save him.
We did our best tried our hardest to save this patient. We emptied just about the whole Ambulance into the patient and it looked promising at one point. We even had everything ready for transport to the hospital. But alas it was not meant to be.
We did our best worked up one hell of a sweat, watched the family’s look go from distressed to hopeful then down to hysterical sadness. Our gear soaked with blood, sweat and hope we soldiered on in our attempt to save the patient.
We were in his office working to try and save him surrounded by pictures and plaques of his life accomplishments and family. It was as if the pictures on his wall were egging us on to work harder and diligently. His wife would peak in from time to time as tears stream down her face. She said he was just fine 20 minutes ago. A policeman pulls her back and we can hear her crying loudly saying please save him.
Sadly it was not his day to be among the living. Something else was calling him whether it was a god or a higher being I’m not quite sure. All I know is he had no pulse and 9 of the brightest EMTs and Paramedics were doing all they could to bring this man back from the brink of death.
The lead paramedic makes the faithful phone call to the ER doctor. He tells him the heroic tail of what the 9 of us are doing and asks for the doctor’s okay to stop CPR after giving a lengthy Medical jargon-laced report .The doctor orders were simple stop CPR. No amount of medical science or CPR will do the patient any more good.
I was the last person to have hands on the patient as the doctors orders come through. I look at the lead Paramedic and he gives me a nod as he hangs up his phone. I stop compressions and cover my now former patient with a white blanket. He now stopped being my patient.
We pick up our blood-soaked gear and we step over our former patient. I remember saying excuse me and sorry to the blanket covered body on the floor as I move around him picking up our gear. This could be viewed as an odd thing to do because he is no longer in the living world. But hey I view it as a sign of respect to him.
We load our gear up and leave. I’m covered head to toe in sweat, my hair is unkempt and my pulse is racing. I know at the end of the day we did all we could but it was not enough. I know our efforts would not have saved him in the end with all the bleeding coming from his airway. But gosh damn we tried and as an EMT that’s all that matters!
So rest in peace my dear patient I will never forget you.
– Story written by an anonymous first responder.