Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Death and Dying

Lab has been insane. All I have to say is finding funding is not pleasant in this economy and has created far more stress than necessary. This stress should be directed towards papers, not grants!

Anyways, my crew and I have had a string of patient deaths, though not the we couldn't save them deaths. No more it was the elderly reaching the end of their time deaths. A DNR, a should have been DNR that the family was going to get the paperwork done the next day but relative decided tonight was the night, and elderly (105!!!) just not doing well and probably reaching the end of his time. Now, I could rant all day about hospice and the lack of planning in this country, but I will refrain for that for now.

Instead, and what I found very interesting, was that I had a new probie who was terrified of death and dying. Now maybe this is just something that I processed early on as a child and accepted (and no, I did not have my parents/grandparents die young), maybe its because I always have known I want to go into medicine, in the end it really doesn't matter but death and dying is something I am comfortable with in the field. Yes, I do get a bit nervous making the call, but for BLS, you have to be really dead or have a DNR to call it and thankfully those are the situations I encountered. Nerve wracking sure, but pretty clear cut. And yet this normal process really disturbed by probie. Perhaps I am the odd one finding his reaction odd but perhaps it was also his first dead person.

My crew chief and I asked her if she wanted to talk about it and she staunchly replied with a "no". Well, that makes us helping you deal with it all the harder.

The same thing happened when we had a "code" that was really a "well we were going to hospice tomorrow morning and we know she wants to die but no, we don't have any paperwork. Whats a DNR?" Thankfully the medic go medical clearance to stop the code but again, my probie didn't want to talk about, though we could tell she did not like dealing with the situation at all.

We all deal with death in different ways, but in EMS and medicine it is something that is there every day (sometimes in frequent stretches). We HAVE to deal with it. Its our job. Now if only I can crack the death nut with my probie and at least get her talking instead of bottling it up. If she wants to do this long term, this is something she has to deal with.

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