Protecting Patients and Their Love Ones

Craig - Seattle, Washington
Entered on February 10, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

Protecting Patients and Their Love Ones

Not too long ago, I was working the last part of my shift, on the paramedic unit, when I was dispatched to an unresponsive twenty-five year old female. When my partner and I arrived, we split up; he examined the patient, while I interviewed the boyfriend. I went down my mental checklist of questions asking the boyfriend if she has any medical history, takes medications, or if she had ever tried to hurt herself. Everything I asked came up negative.

I could tell there was something seriously wrong with the young woman but I was exactly sure what. We were going to treat her as if she had internal bleeding in her head and take over her breathing while also sedating her with medication. I asked the firefighters at the scene to get the patient into the back of our medic unit. As my partner and I left the apartment, I realized that I had just asked some of the most terrifying questions to the boyfriend, and I had forgotten to tell him that we would do everything we can to take care her.

That is what I was trained to do in paramedic school, to find out as much information as possible in a short amount of time while protecting the patient from getting any worse. What I forgot to do was reassure the patient’s boyfriend that he did everything right. So in case she passes away, I would hope he would never blame himself for doing something wrong.

I believe it is important especially in my job to take a few seconds and not only to try to save the patient but mentally help the patient’s love ones, by letting them know that they did everything right. This I believe will hopefully save a lifetime of guilt for those connected to the patient. In my nineteen years in the emergency medical service I have seen many people pass away in front of my eyes, but unlike the patient’s family and friends, I do not personally know these individuals. I am usually able to disconnect myself shortly after the call and go help the next person. For the patient’s love ones they are at the beginning phase of having to deal with such a tragedy.