To meet someone who’d died

After another average day from an eclectic collection of patients I drove home.

But on arriving at my flats I met someone who turned my average day into one of the best days ever.  I met a man who lived in the set of flats next to mine who had suffered a cardiac arrest on our truck.

It is one of the jobs I want to write up soon as in itself it was amazingly interesting and strangely funny.  In short though, he’d died at least once on our truck and was “shocked” three times – two of which were whilst he was semi conscious . . . with interesting results.  And by the time we dropped our patient off at the hospital our ambulance looked like a dozen hand-grenades had been set off and myself, my crew mate Marvin* and the FRU, Jane* were utterly exhausted.

Like most jobs though, we never found out whether our patient lived or not.   And sometimes, as I left home each day (or night) to go to work, I couldn’t help but look up at his flat and wonder.

But, here we were now, facing each other.  And he was alive . . . looking healthy and normal.  The hospital had done wonders on our man and he’d been discharged with some stents fitted and no signs of physical or neurological deficit.

I think he was trying to thank us all for effectively saving his life but you know what, I didn’t take it in.  As soon as I realised who he was and how healthy he looked, I was over the moon . . . and didn’t hide it.  I grabbed his hand, drew him in and gave him a massive man hug and was almost whooping with joy.

We continued talking for a long while and eventually said our farewells.  I was buzzing.  A high percentage of our work is to people who, quite frankly, don’t require an emergency ambulance.  This means a small percentage do.  And an even smaller percentage of these sometimes need our utmost training and skills (if we can stop plopping ourselves first that is).  Some die, some don’t . . . but we rarely get to hear about the outcome.  So, to actually meet a patient post cardiac arrest is quite a rare thing – and certainly something I never thought I’d have the privilege of doing.

It made my day.  It certainly made my week . . . it may even of made my year.  I mean, we must of done something right eh.  I will now return to work in a couple of days with a new found zest and energy for helping people . . . until that is, the first string of broken fingernails and belly aches knock me back down again.  But for now, lets just revel in the joy that someone actually lived.


*not their real names of course . . . . and the patient gave special thanks to them.  ‘Them’??!  Why not me?!!!


5 thoughts on “To meet someone who’d died

  1. Mate that’s always a great feeling when it happens and can lead to a story that ppl want to hear.

    However there is the other side to our job, I got called to an unwell nan, not big sick but just unwell. Anyway a bit of reassurance and humour before crew arrived and she settled down to a trip to A&E. Fast forward four days and in the pub with me old man, this gentleman comes over says “I’m Nan’s son, you were at ours 4 days ago” gives me a huge hug while tears are streaming down his face, he then said “Thank you, for what you did, my mum passed away at midnight on that day.”

    Well talk about feeling deflated and in no mood for a beer.

    • Too true.

      I remember dropping off someone at hospital and was in an elated fantastic mood. Turning round I instantly recognised someone who’s father we’d brought in the day before for something quite trivial. Laughing loudly I said Hi, and asked how their dad was doing?

      Inevitably they said he’d died that morning.

      And just the other day I parked the ambulance in a street as some old folk walked passed. One of the old dears asked if we were here to see one of her friends – I said no and jokingly asked if she wanted to hop for a ride to hospital. She replied that they’d just come back from a funeral of one of their close friends so no thanks.

      Seems to happen a bit more often than the good ones eh . . . oops

  2. Maybe there is a valued reason for medics to see or at least be told about the positive results to their cases? What I mean is if you were given information about the outcome of the people you help, then the job would be more satisfying. In my ignorance that seems like a simple but very important thing. Susx

    • You’re right in some aspects Sus. It would be nice . . . and positive. I reckon we don’t, or choose not to, simply because most of the time it isn’t a positive outcome. I reckon if we heard or were told of all the bad outcomes we’d become the most depressed individuals ever (leave that to the doctors I say).

      But, it would be good to hear the good results . . . maybe we could just have those

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