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We were in the middle of the vehicle check out; we had just come on duty when the tones had us heading for our seats.

“Medic 42, Rescue 41, respond for a possible DOA, 2027 Taylor Road, time out 0820 hours.”

As we headed to the scene, there are no further updates. Arriving in front of the residence we see a very elderly female standing at the front door, wa...ving to us.

Making our way into the residence, I notice she has a look of sadness that is almost painful to see.

“He won’t wake up,” she said.

Walking into the bedroom, we find her husband of 67 years died sometime during the night. He has dependent lividity indicating he has been dead for several hours and is cool to the touch... We will not be attempting a resuscitation based on these physical findings.

What am I going to tell his wife?

As I walk into the kitchen where she is seated at the dining table, I notice she has two coffee cups prepared. The other was obviously for her husband.

I walked over and knelt next to her; I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “I am very sorry, what can I do for you?”

She turned and looked at me, “Did he have any pain…?”

“No, I believe it was very peaceful,” I offered and meant all of it.

How do you deal with this as a new EMT or paramedic? I wish I could tell you exactly what to do, I can’t. What I can tell you is this…you are going to have this ‘exact’ call, maybe this shift, maybe in the next year…you will be here!

You will grow as an EMT, as a medic, as a human.

Being a good pre-hospital provider isn't about saving that GSW patient, it’s about handling the MOST difficult scenes you can imagine, and your EMT or paramedic program won’t give you the answers, these will come with very expensive learning curves.

But, you will get through it, you will become a stronger provider, and I would love to hear some of your experiences.

Read about the hero’s at Station 4 in ‘Signs of Life’, are their calls any easier…are you kidding?

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