Mother and Son

She curls on the couch sobbing. She found her son not breathing when she came home from her midnight shift. He is on the floor now.  The fire department first responders do compressions on his bare chest.

The man is lean and muscled with jailhouse tattoos on his arms, chest, and neck. It isn’t a stretch to think heroin.

His mother’s boyfriend confirms this to us. The man on the floor was a user.  They argued about it every day, but he kept using. Two torn heroin bags are found on the floor.

We work him for twenty minutes with no response.  Asystole throughout.  His skin is cool, his pupils fixed and dilated. There is already some stiffening in his jaw. We call the hospital for permission to cease the resuscitation. It is granted.

We remove the airway,  electrodes and defib pads and place them along with our gloves in the bag the ambu-bag came in.

His mom kneels over him now, kissing his face, her tears falling on his cold skin. “Vente conmigo, vente conmigo, “ she cries.  Come with me, come with me.  “No te vaya, no te vaya.” Do not go, do not go. “Mi nino, mi amor, mi corazon, te quiero.” My son, my love, my heart. I love you. “Vente conmigo, no te vaya.”

I stand by his feet holding a clean white sheet.  I am motionless.


  • Jordan says:

    Drug overdoses are normally the ones you get back. So always especially difficult when you don’t. Only a recently qualified Paramedic and haven’t had to deliver bad news as of yet. Dreading the day I do.

  • Oliver Eastwood says:

    Hi there!

    My name is Oliver. I’m a researcher from Monash University’s Trauma Recovery Lab (Australia), where we aim to understand and facilitate children’s and families’ recovery from traumatic stress. Our leader, Dr Eva Alisic has recently published research examining pre-hospital providers (e.g. paramedics and emergency medical technicians) knowledge of child traumatic stress, their attitudes towards trauma-informed care, and their confidence in providing this type of care. We conducted an international survey of 812 participants from high-income countries and interestingly found that on average, participants only answered 2.7 out of seven questions on child traumatic stress correctly and 90% felt they needed further knowledge in this area, with a reported preference for an interactive training website. Going forward, we hope to use these results to develop specified training materials for pre-hospital providers.

    Whilst we have published these results in an academic journal, we ultimately hope to reach the individuals for who this information matters most, emergency care providers. We came across your blog and were wondering if you would be interested in discussing these findings with your audience. Alternatively, Dr Alisic would appreciate the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog.

    I have attached a link to the original research and a link to Dr Alisic’s own blog where she regularly discusses her own research and developments in the field. We hope you find the research interesting and consider it for your next post.

    Kind Regards,
    Oliver Eastwood.



  • Dave says:

    Unfortunately, these are realities, such situations happen. You have to be strong and fight to the end.

  • Antonia says:

    After just reading this story, I am shocked. To be there must had been terrifying… very sad….

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