Paramedics Share The Patients Whose Last Words Will Always Stay With Them
Nobody wants to be in the position of receiving somebody's last words.
But sometimes, somebody is. And those somebodies are likely deeply impacted by that.
Unfortunately, an occupational hazard of being in emergency response, such as Paramedics or EMTs are, is that often you intersect with people in the last moments of their life. And their last words are sometimes all you get to know of them.
Here were some of those answers.
Trigger warning: death, violence, suicide.
The End In The BeginningGiphy
It wasn't my patient, but a fellow paramedic's. He had a mid 30's age male who had injuries that didn't really give him much of a shot even if he would've been in the ER when it happened. He looked at my friend, and asked about the injuries. When my friend responded, he shrugged his shoulders and responded "at least it's not raining". The man's optimism even in the face of death will never leave me.
As far as myself, I haven't had anyone say anything profound, but I'm not sure the screams will ever go away.
The Worst Possible Outcome
"Tell that *sshole I finally did something right."
The last words of a 23 year old woman to her father. We were responding to her suicide attempt called in by her roommate. She lost consciousness as we loaded her in the back of the ambulance. Three minutes later she seized, coded and died in transit. It was week 3 of my new EMT job, just last year.
CSI, tending to an elderly man who was shot in a home invasion, points to his dresser, and tells me to get the detective. Tells the detective, "Shoot those SOB's with my gun." He died seconds later. The detective found a Taurus Raging Judge Magnum in the third drawer.
Sweet, Crunchy, And Savory
Supposedly my uncle's last words were "when I wake up, somebody go get me Fig Newtons"
Died on the surgery table due to massive complications from pancreatic cancer. The surgery was only going to prolong the inevitable.
Not a first responder, but an anesthesiologist. The ones that always stick with me are when a patient is scared before a big case like a cardiac bypass surgery and looking for reassurance. You tell them all you're going to take great care of them, and you do. Sometimes though, they never wake up or come off the bypass pump despite your best efforts. Pretty depressing knowing their last words after decades of life are asking for reassurance and you tell them you'll do your best, only for your best to not be good enough to top Mother Nature.
Dogs May Be More Necessary Than We Think
Volunteer at a hospice clinic in my town in the "butterfly" ward. It's a ward for people with less than a month for children ages 0-18.
"Where's Saya, I wanna say goodbye. Please let me see Saya."
Saya is my German shepherd that accompanied me most days but she hurt her paw that morning on a walk and this kid (6 years old) had fallen in love with her. I felt f*cking horrible.
Pray For New Life
I was a Firefighter/EMT (basic) Company Officer and the Paramedics from my firehouse were on the way, after being called by radio. Mother had delivered at home (alone) and was suffering severe postpartum bleeding. My crew was attending the newborn who seemed to be doing ok. Umbilical was clamped and baby (girl) was being kept warm.
All around mom, it looked like there was enough blood to fill a kitchen sink. Her B/P was the lowest I had ever seen in a conscious person.
Mother; "Will you pray with me?"
I never pray. I've been an atheist since preteen years. We prayed. She did; I held her hand. She whispered her prayers, so I never actually heard her say anything else before transferring her care to my Paramedics. By the time we loaded both patients into the MED rig, mom was unconscious and intubated.
My paramedics didn't get back to the firehouse for several hours, because they caught a couple more radio calls. It was something like 3:30am when I learned that mom had died on the way to the hospital.
78 year old female at a nursing home, she was having a massive MI. We were the BLS crew, with a paramedic specialist meeting us on scene. I was a paramedic student at the time and the specialist was in the back of the ambulance with me. The patient knew what was happening and we could tell she was in a lot of pain. She kept refusing any form of painkiller because she "didn't want to be a bother". She later died in the hospital.
"I don't feel so good"
My paramedic partner got on scene of a call and said a man was pinned between two cars but was still stable and talking. Said it was like a 6/10 pain after meds administered.
They were about to fly out a surgeon and do a bilateral leg field amputation when he looked at them and said I don't feel so good before slumping over.
Not an EMT but a nurse.
"That wasn't very much water. "
I'm an LPN and was caring for a person dying of MS. She had lost her gag reflex and was not to be administered anything by mouth except for sublingual (liquid) morphine.
The day she died I checked on her hourly, repositioned her, and administered the morphine. She would beg for water with a grating whisper and there was nothing I could do.
The last time I checked on her before she died she again begged me for water, and after I administered the morphine, she looked at me with accusing eyes and grated out "That wasn't very much water. " She died within the next hour, with no family or friends by her side. That last interaction haunted me for some time after.
Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.
It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.