Wednesday, February 9, 2011


"Engine 226, Dispatch.."

"Go ahead for Engine 226."

"Engine 226, RP called back and said that her mother is not breathing."

"Engine 226 copies, we're bumping up to code three."

"Engine 226, Dispatch."

"Go ahead for 226."

"226, RP's daughter is performing CPR."

"E226 copies, go ahead and put us on scene."

We went up the walkway, through a gate and found a closed door. We knocked and opened it and could hear someone yelling from the back of the house. Down the hallway to an open bathroom door. There, we could see a sixty year old woman moving up and down over the chest of her mother, like a pile driver, 80 times a second.

Her mother lay on the floor in her own mess, pale pulseless and apneic. The crew dragged the pt. out of the bathroom and into the hallway. The daughter was still pleading with her lifeless mother, sobbing ,  pleading with her to live.

The monitor told us that mother wasn't going to comply with her daughters request. 91 birthdays had been enough. The crew was on it, I worked on getting the daughter out of the hallway. Her emotional state was not doing anybody any good, I wanted her out of the hallway so my crew could focus on their work.  I shepherded the daughter into the kitchen and obtained the necessary patient information.

The ambulance arrived at about the same time as the patients son, he ran to check on his mother, then to comfort his sister. I could hear the daughter down the hall, blaming herself, begging her mother to forgive her. The brother appeared to be a little more rational and was telling his sister not to blame herself. Apparently, both offspring had been trying to make their mother happy in her final years, both without success.

What had started out as a call to help someone back into bed has ended up as a lesson to me. One that involved a parent, her children and guilt. Though I hope my children will mourn when I am gone, I don't want them to feel any guilt. I have felt enough of that for us all.

Thanks for reading,


  1. This is the scenario I do not want to face.

  2. CPR on a 91 year old? Seems fragile at best.

  3. Mad Jack - I have been lucky so far, my in laws had DNRs, their wishes were known and respected. Not much guilt in our behalf either.

    Kimberly - My thoughts exactly, but with no DNR and an offspring that obviously wanted her saved, whaddaya gonna do but follow protocol?

    Thanks for the comments.