What do EMTs know about dying that non-responders don't?

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Editor’s Note:

A question posted recently on Quora asked "What do EMTs know about dying that non-responders don't? Former paramedic Anderson Moorer gave his opinion on the topic. Read his response and please add your own insight in the comment section. 

I don't think being an EMT in itself necessarily gives someone any insight into death and dying, it merely exposes one to it, and to the experience of trying to delay in another that fate we all share.

But it does hit home how many people die, inside and outside hospitals alike.

How many of us die? The answer is "all of them, sooner or later." That's something hard to grasp emotionally.

Witnessing death in the context of people's living rooms, their bedrooms, their car or airplane seat, at celebrations and gatherings, restaurants and restrooms — anywhere and everywhere people may be — demonstrates how inevitable it is, and hits home how unavoidable and merciless death can be. 

It’s sometimes agonizing, sometimes painless, sometimes a comfort, more often a complete and unwelcome surprise. Sometimes it can be delayed, but never defeated.

I once tried to guess how many dead people I have stood over in the years I was an EMT and paramedic. I guess it to be about 800. 

I don't really have any clue what it means, in any deeper sense, when these lives full of insight, experiences, emotions and connections end. An entire existence, gone; that's not something to take lightly.

But it's also hard to really comprehend, for so much to just suddenly be — gone.

I just know that it happens, to everyone. Every single person you know, speak to, see on TV or pass on the street.

But everyone knows this.

Right?

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