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Calming an inconsolable infant is ‘cape worthy’ and why I will always carry a binky in my work bag

The EMS Week 2015 theme is EMS STRONG. From getting ROSC on a child to belting out the “Frozen” theme song on the way to the hospital, we wanted to know how kids have inspired you to be EMS STRONG. See the finalists and winners of our 2015 essay contest, where readers describe how a pediatric response made them feel like a superhero.

By Ann Farina

I don’t have kids. I don’t have any nieces or nephews. Many of my friends have small children, but generally when I see them it is because mom and/or dad want some adult time.

The only time I’m ever around children is when I’m at work. Because of this I haven’t developed any of the magical child-comforting skills that seem to appear when one produces offspring.

We were transporting a 2-week-old infant from her home in an rural area after she possibly had a medical issue. Due to the long transport time we’d grabbed her and her car seat and transported right away. In our haste we neglected to grab the diaper bag, or more specifically the binky (pacifier) inside the diaper bag. So there I was, stuck with an inconsolable infant who’d had her dinner interrupted for a 30-plus minute transport.

Within a couple of minutes she had thoroughly proven that she had very healthy lungs. My partner and I quickly tried to dream up something that could safely be used as a substitute binky without much success. A glove was the right texture, but not at all safe. While trying to come up with a way to solve the safety issue it occurred to me that my own gloved pinkie was the perfect size and shape and there was no risk of her swallowing or inhaling it.

I promptly put on a clean glove and popped my pinkie into her mouth, causing her to abandon her goal of being my loudest patient that day and to fall asleep. Somehow, miraculously I managed to keep her asleep for the entire transport.

From my perspective being able to keep an infant happy (and quiet) for 30 minutes is a feat worthy of being issued a cape.

About the author

Ann Farina is a NR-P in Washington state. She has been in EMS sine 2003 and has worked in a variety of positions in Alaska and Washington since then. Over the years her jobs have included working as a wildland fire medic, a dual-role firefighter/paramedic, a 911 transport medic, and as an educator. In March of 2014 Ann founded the Code Green Campaign, a mental health awareness campaign that raises awareness about mental health conditions and suicide in first responders. Through the Code Green Ann has worked as an educator, researcher, and consultant in order to assist agencies in improving their mental health programs.