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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/23/2005 1:50:00 PM EDT
Not sure if she died or not but that's not what's bothering me.

Went on an ambulance call to assist EMS. Of course, I got there first. The original call was for an elderly female that had fallen out of bed. The caregiver, her elderly sister, had called for help and had only called for the police. She had not called for an ambulance. I've been to this residence before to help with her.

Never mind the sanity of having LEO respond for something that clearly is a huge liability but, the local ambulance crew won't respond unless there's the need for medical assistance. No one else is going to do it so, we get the call and our chief has us respond.

When I arrived, the sister had called back and said that she MIGHT need an ambulance. When I got into the room, the eldery female was lying on her side and clearly having dificulty breathing, struggled asspiration. I advsied dispatch thatif they hadn't already they needed to get EMS rolling for a possible Code.

She requires O2 through a home ventilator system through a naso-canulla (sp?) She has severe osteoperosis so I can't roll her over on her back because of the angle it would place her airway without support. I can't replace the canula due to the amount of mucous. Long story short the EMS crew shows up a couple of minutes after me and they get into her room as her lips are turning blue and she stopped breathing the moment we got her on er back even though I put pillows under her head. I did chest compressions for 20 - 30 minutes while the crew worked on her. I don't have to describe what it's like doing chest compressions on the elderly if you've done it before so, I won't.

With all that, the job did not bother me. It didn't even bother me that much that there was a low probability that she would live. I've been doing this for nearly 11 years and have seen many people die.

What truely disturbed me was the copmlete lack of response from the cargiving sister. She seemed completely unconcerned. Maybe "unconcerned" is the wrong work, more uninvolved. Almost as if she were watching iton TV. She didn't have the usual emotional responses of a family member watching a sibling die.

Nno signs of foul play or anything else suspicious. The sisters complete lack of any emotional response just won;t stop nagging at me. I've already told my supervisors about my concerns but, they don't seem worried about it. Of course, they weren't there.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 2:00:28 PM EDT
Don't think the sister didn't care, otherwise she wouldn't have been giving care all this time. The sister already dealt with the emotion of the situation during the entire time she's been giving care. She knew it was coming for a long time. There was not any surprise or suddenness to it, thus her ability to cope with it and appear nonchalant. She'd already come to terms with her sister's death long before it happened.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 3:11:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:47:57 PM EDT
If you've watched a loved one die a slow painful death, maybe you'd understand. When death finally comes, it can be a relief. Your loved one's suffering is over. They've gone on to what ever comes next. For me, there are some things worse than death. I've had this conversation with my people. When the time comes that I cant do for myself, and I'm a burden to my loved ones, or society in general, pull the plug. I'm done. Being bed ridden, with someone wiping my ass for me is not an option. Harvest whatever organ(s) I might have to contribute, and get on with your life. If you choose to keep me alive, you are doing it for you, not for me. And you are doing me a disservice.
I had a friend who's dad was in a nursing home. I went with him to visit his dad as his dad was entering his final days. It was pathetic. The man was old and shriveled. He didn't know who he was, or where he was at. The doctors kept pumping him full of drugs to keep him alive another day. The man was obviously suffering. Rarely was he even conscience. Finally, I pulled Don aside and convinced him to do the humane thing. Stop all the medical assistance, and let the poor man go. He did. A short time later, he came to me and thanked me, on behalf of his father.
We have to be careful not to let our emotions cloud our rational thinking.
None of us are getting out of this alive. We are all going to die. Get comfortable with the idea. I have. I only ask that I be able to go out with dignity.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:24:34 PM EDT
I've told myself that as well. Even after 11 years though, this is the first time I've seen NO emotion at all. Even with families that have been dealing with termianl illness for long term, or the predictable oncoming death of an elderly person, there was usually something, conversation about it ot something. With the sister, nothing. She answered our questions with the same smile that she had on previous visits.

I'm not wanting an emotional breakdown or anything but, something would have been reasuring.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:35:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tin_Star:
If you've watched a loved one die a slow painful death, maybe you'd understand. When death finally comes, it can be a relief.



+1

I remember as a young child my Grandmother not crying alot at my grandfathers funeral. I asked her why she was not crying...

she said because she was more relieved because Grandaddy was finally done suffering. It made so much sense, especially how I had watched him slowly waste away. I didnt cry anymore that day.


LB
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 5:36:08 PM EDT
cmoth,

I see this response from family members on an almost daily basis, especially when its in regards to a frail, elderly relative who's life is relegated to their bed. It is the family who sees the slow deterioration of their loved one from day to day. They do all they can for their loved one in hopes of making their final days comfortable. All the time preparing themselves for the inevitable day their loved one will finally expire. It is a day they know is coming, and a day they are prepared for. Very often, upon the death of their loved one, they are relieved that the day has finally come, and their suffering is finally over....Its actually a documented and normal human response when dealing with terminally ill loved ones..

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, on the other hand, is they type of situation where you will see the classic tears, hysterics, and profound sadness, as it was unexpected in nature.....
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 6:03:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2005 6:04:53 PM EDT by Dru]
We get toned out for a cardiac red........ Get on scene, old guy laying in the floor, unresponsive, not breathing. We work him for what seems like forever. Medical Direction called it (dead right there) after the paramedics called them and told them what we’d done with still no stimuli/response from the patient.

The wife stood there the whole time just looking. Turns out she got out of bed, got dressed, walked into the kitchen, saw her husband lying there, in his birthday suit. She grabs her keys and purse goes to the grocery store, on the way there she stops off to the local hardware store to see a friend, friend asks about the hubby, she tells friend, left him at home passed out on the kitchen floor. She proceeds to leave and continue on to the grocery store. Friend makes the 911 call.

When the paramedic told the lady, there was nothing more we could do, all she wanted was a cigarette...totally devoid of any emotion!



Different people deal with death or situations like this differently.......... You've got denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance.............. Thats patients and family members.........


I've seen all of the above!

Link Posted: 8/23/2005 6:09:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2005 6:11:16 PM EDT by Dru]

Originally Posted By ChrisLe:
cmoth,

I see this response from family members on an almost daily basis, especially when its in regards to a frail, elderly relative who's life is relegated to their bed. It is the family who sees the slow deterioration of their loved one from day to day. They do all they can for their loved one in hopes of making their final days comfortable. All the time preparing themselves for the inevitable day their loved one will finally expire. It is a day they know is coming, and a day they are prepared for. Very often, upon the death of their loved one, they are relieved that the day has finally come, and their suffering is finally over....Its actually a documented and normal human response when dealing with terminally ill loved ones..

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, on the other hand, is they type of situation where you will see the classic tears, hysterics, and profound sadness, as it was unexpected in nature.....




I don't really care for calls that involve the unexpected stuff..........
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 8:18:59 PM EDT
i guess i'll add my thoughts on this.................................when my uncle was killed in a motorcycle accident i was overwhelmed, the state patrol officer pulled up with his girlfriend about 30 seconds after we got the news i heard it and walked outside, apoligized and said he had a few questions for me if that was ok i said ok answered his questions and said thank you and sorry for your loss.......


the trooper knows my best friend (deputy sherrif) and made a comment to him that he was shocked i answered the questions even made a few jokes and smiled.............however later that night when what happened sunk in i was a drunken slobbering crying mess.



when my father died january of 2004 we were prepared for it me being the oldest son I had to call the hospice nurse and make all the calls that were needed I even helped the two kids that came to pick him up lift him and get him out and take care of my mom..................so people ALL people have a diffrent reaction to it
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 8:49:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dru:

Originally Posted By ChrisLe:
cmoth,

I see this response from family members on an almost daily basis, especially when its in regards to a frail, elderly relative who's life is relegated to their bed. It is the family who sees the slow deterioration of their loved one from day to day. They do all they can for their loved one in hopes of making their final days comfortable. All the time preparing themselves for the inevitable day their loved one will finally expire. It is a day they know is coming, and a day they are prepared for. Very often, upon the death of their loved one, they are relieved that the day has finally come, and their suffering is finally over....Its actually a documented and normal human response when dealing with terminally ill loved ones..

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, on the other hand, is they type of situation where you will see the classic tears, hysterics, and profound sadness, as it was unexpected in nature.....




I don't really care for calls that involve the unexpected stuff..........


Neither do I. Been a NYC Medic for 16 yrs and I still hate having to tell the family that resuscitative efforts were unsuccessful and their loved one has passed......Toughest part of the job....
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 8:36:56 AM EDT
I think alot of people wear apathy as an "armor" when it comes to stressful situations. I know I tend to, at least at work.

Most family members have come to terms with death and I have seen a death celebrated more than once by family members onscene. Of course, the suicides are a different story. Thank God we have law enforcement chaplains on call all hours of the day here. They are invaluble on death scenes and SHTF calls.

NorCal

Link Posted: 8/24/2005 11:49:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 11:50:52 AM EDT by FiveO]
My area is a big destination for Yankees to come and die. The first few times I went to death scenes involving them it raised my hackles like crazy... The survivors just did not act like anything I had grown accustomed to. I now know that y'all Northerners are just "differnt" when it comes to dealing with death.

Of course every new deputy now calls CID saying, "Man, this scene looks clean and natural but the husband (or whoever) is so cold I am suspicious..." He too will learn y'all are differnt.

Seriously though, people just handle this shit in their own way and sometimes it is so foreign to us that it simply offends our natures. Don't take it home, Brother!
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 4:50:14 PM EDT
Others have put it pretty well.

IMHO, she'd been expecting it for some time.

Also, once ordinary folks call 911 and the SEP field* is activated, it becomes an other-world experience.



*SEP Field - for the uninitiated: Somebody Else's Problem - the imaginary realm where folks believe that someone will take care of a situation, so they don't have to act / get involved / have responsibility for any (in)action that occurs - kind of like the Kitty Genovese murder in NYC, where there were 38 witnesses who didn't see anything.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 11:36:09 AM EDT
Thanks all.

I've been mulling it over and maybe the only reason this one affected me more than the others is the fact that I had been there at that house a few times before to help pick her up. She'd been so matter of fact about the assistance and the sister was always very apologetic about needing the help. I had always felt that she would have been much better off in a managed care facility (you won't hear me say that much btw, my Grt-Grandmother died in one of those). She seemed like a nice lady who had done her job in society of keeping her life free of the usual crap, keeping her long dead husbands memory alive and just waiting. Now I guess I know what she was waiting for.

Again, thanks.

cmoth
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 11:53:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/26/2005 8:33:03 AM EDT by Real_estate_salesman]
People handle things differently (as noted by others above). I keep things inside. I remember when I went with 2 females to watch some HS (health services) students work on cadavers at the USCG base we were stationed at, both of them ran outside and spent about 30 minutes puking thier guts out on the lawn in front of the building. Me, I just stood there and watched, I guess I was just kind of "frozen". Don't think it didn't bother me, I started having night terrors, maybe a few days or weeks later, they continued for years. For a while I would even have flash backs of sorts. I won't get to here, but basicly I was affected the most, yet others never would have known.
Link Posted: 8/29/2005 11:11:43 AM EDT
I had one similar. The caregiver had resolved hiself that this day would come and he was OK with it. The thing that tore me apart was that their 45yo daughter that suffered from downs syndrome was there watching it all go down. She was hysterical. That tore me up, and I don't think I will ever forget it.
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 7:25:37 AM EDT
I'm new around this part of ARFCOM, so please put me back in line if I step out...

I don't know the full specifics of this call, nor do I assume to state what this person was feeling.

However, working Fire/EMS for roughly 7 years, both paid and volunteer, I've seen my share of death. I have an uncanny ability to turn off emotion that scares my wife and those who know me closely. I see it as a blessing, however, more than a curse. It's not that I don't have compassion for the situation the people are in, it's more like the emotion just cuts off when I walk on scene. I remember, when I was a sophomore in college and worked my first code, I was upset later that night b/c it DIDN'T upset me. Maybe this woman had a similar ability, maybe she had been a nurse, or was awaiting the maker to take her sister home. I hope this was the case.

However, I have seen a couple of cases that will chill anyone to the bone, where the "caretaker" cares more about the social security check or the gov't benefits that show up in the mailbox than they do the "recipient" of the check. I recall specifically one house in my town to which we'd often respond for an elderly male suffering from a hypoglaucemic diabetic emergency (low blood sugar). The sister showed absolutely no worry, fear, or concern for his obviously debilitating condition (he was a very nice man when his sugar was correct, he attacked me once while in his sugar stupor but was humbly apologetic once his levels were corrected). More disconcerting was that she was actually ANNOYED that his medical emergency disturbed her day. Her lack of concern for his medications and feeding schedules (often believed to be the cause of his lapses) went past negligence and bordered cruelty. Many of us were sure that she was just keeping him around as a cash cow.

As much as we like to hope and search for the good in people, there are evil ones about as well. I sincerely hope the woman you mentioned just felt emotionally detached from the stress of the situation, or some other good reason. I wish you the best of luck in coping with the situation... talk to a counselor or a trusted friend, take some vacation time, or maybe move into a specialty field (traffic, admin, etc) for a little while to get a different perspective... Hopefully things will adjust back to normal and you can continue on with the career you enjoy...

When I get back from Iraq I am hopefully going to move into the police field. I look forward to helping out in a new way, and seeing things from a different side of the scene. Best of luck to you!
Link Posted: 9/5/2005 5:04:04 PM EDT
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