How do paramedics get over the guilt of failed rescue after patients pass away?

Read the response and add your own thoughts in the comments


Editor’s Note:

A question posted recently on Quora asked "How do paramedics get over the guilt of failed rescue after patients pass away?" EMT Jon Frattaroli gave his opinion on the topic. Read his response, and add your own to the comments. 

 

I've been an EMT for nearly 10 years and I have unfortunately had people die in my arms, but the answer to your question greatly depends on the situation. 

For example an 80-year-old person who has a heart attack and dies generally does not affect a professional EMT or Paramedic as its the natural course of life.  Yes we would like to save all of our patients, but sometimes its just not possible and elderly deaths are just part of the job. 

On the other hand if I lose a young person it can be very difficult to get over. 

While most people in Emergency Services have "seen it all" anybody who has a young person die in their ambulance is usually affected by it ... sometimes deeply. To get over it we talk to our crewmates and sometimes to professional counselors, depending on the severity of the call. Personally, when I lose a young patient I tend to hug my wife and kids a little more than normal, but it can take me months to stop thinking about those failed rescues.

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