Bad Job

This is a tricky post to write. Normally I would write something to emphasis how I feel, or to try and get my readers to understand what happened, or to highlight some point.
But I can't do that in this post.

All I can do right now is tell you what happened.

I got sent to a call near the edge of my 'patch', given to me as a “12 year old female, collapse”. The navigation point wasn't accurate though, so while I could get into the right general area, it wasn't directing me right to the door. I got there fairly fast, because I always drive fast to my jobs, even if I suspect that the illness is a panic attack, a faint, or a broken fingernail.

I met up with the ambulance crew coming from the other direction while I was checking my map, and talking to Control so as to get a better location on the patient. Control called back and gave me better directions – I told the ambulance crew to follow me.

The location was down a private road, which had huge, unmarked black speedbumps. I hit the first one at about 30mph, and had to check my mirror to make sure that I hadn't left important parts of my vehicle left behind in the road.

The patient was lying in the road ahead of me, with her family standing around her – I parked my car next to her, and got out to see what was happening.

The family were quite calm, and they told me that their daughter was travelling in the family car, told her parents that she felt unwell – so they stopped, she got out, shook a bit and then fell onto the floor.

The parents had laid her into the recovery position, and while worried, weren't screaming and crying.

Examining the patient, I saw there was a small bit of vomit in her mouth.

She then grunted.

I then saw that she had stopped breathing.

I am lucky that the ambulance was right behind me.

By now the medic on the ambulance was with me, and I told him that she had stopped breathing. I threw him my bag with the ambu-bag in it (the bit of kit which we use to breathe for the patient), and while he started breathing for her, I cut off her clothes and connected our defibrillator.

She was in fine VF, which is a rhythm that is 'incompatible for life', meaning that her heart isn't pumping blood around her body. It is also a rhythm that we can 'shock' to try and bring her back.

I shocked her.

The monitor on the defibrillator showed Asystole, which is where the heart isn't moving at all – but this can be 'normal' after giving a shock.

It was about now that the parents realised that their daughter was iller than they thought. They asked us what was happening – all we could tell them was that their daughter was 'very ill'. You can't tell people that their daughter is dead while you are in the middle of the road, in case they mob you and the patient, and prevent you from doing your job.

By now I was doing CPR (pumping on her chest to keep the blood circulating), and she had vomited a large amount everywhere. Normally we care about getting vomit on our clothes – but in this case we weren't thinking of that.

By now the driver of the ambulance had gotten the trolley off the back of the ambulance, so we decided to 'load and go', this girl needed to be in hospital as quickly as possible.

Her heart changed into fine VF again – so I shocked her another two times – once more she was in Asystole.

We loaded the trolley onto the tail-lift of the ambulance – and it wouldn't lift.

We gave everything a kick (because there is sometimes a loose connection) and it still wouldn't lift, so I ran around and got the handle that we use to manually raise the lift – but then the tail-lift started up.

We got the patient, and the father on board the ambulance, I jumped on to continue chest compressions, while the medic was trying to clear the airway and continue breathing for her.

The driver then put in a priority call to the nearest hospital, and started driving.

We sometimes drive fast in this job, but if there is one thing that will have us driving like a maniac it's for a nearly dead child.

While weaving our way through traffic and high speed I was keeping up the chest compressions while telling her father what we were doing.

It is hard to stand up in the back of a Mercedes Sprinter when weaving through traffic at high speed, and it is really hard to do so when some idiot in front of you decides to brake suddenly.

The vehicle lurched, there was swearing from our driver, and I grabbed a handrail. It was then I felt something 'go' in my wrist and hip.

We reached the hospital in one piece, and a nurse took care of the father, while we wheeled the patient into the resus room, where a team of specialists were waiting for us.

The good thing about the local hospital is that they let the parents watch the resus attempt if they want. There is loads of research that shows that this is good for the family to let them know that everything was tried for their child.

I was in the reception area when the rest of the family arrived – I showed them to the relatives room, and took the mother into the resus area where they were still trying to save the patient.

I was outside in the ambulance bay when I heard the family start crying, and I knew that they were crying because they had just been told that their daughter/sister/granddaughter had died.

The ambulance crew and myself had a little de-stress in the nurses messroom, and then the crew took me back to my car.

There was a small amount of vomit and a bottle of water still on the scene.

I went back to station, filled in an injury report form, completed the rest of my paperwork, and spoke to Control and told them that I would be sick for the rest of the night, because by now my wrist and hip were really starting to hurt.

All throughout I wasn't 'feeling' anything, instead I was 'blank', and not because of 'shock'.

I think that it's because, by my fourth nightshift, the ability to care about anything leaves me.

I was contacted by a duty officer, to check on me – and he was one of the nicest officers I've spoken to. He wanted to make sure that I was psychologically alright (I was), and he told me that he would sort out the injury part with my station officers so that they would know what was happening.

I then went to bed.

This morning, while telling my mum what had happened, I started to feel sorry for the girl – so I know I'm not a monster.

Sometimes this job is really shitty – everything went right with the resus attempt, and yet the patient still died. I'm left thinking that while I will continue, and will forget about this job (until the Coroners office asks for a statement), for that family they may never recover.

97 thoughts on “Bad Job”

  1. hi,hope youre recovering from your injuries.

    i was just wondering, whether it ever worries you when driving fast, especially when just having a mechanical failure such as the tail-lift??

    are the ambulances well maintained?

    take it easy

  2. The fact that you can worry about being a monster surely means that you are not one. Your compassion for the people you treat has always come through in your writing. If I or my family ever need emergency services, I hope they are as professional and caring as you.Take care of yourself.


  3. Indeed. I thought my day sucked. I dropped a tiny metal part into an inaccessible part of my car's insides. Then I took a chunk out of my arm trying to reach it. Then I managed to break an extremely expensive tool, cracking my chin on part of the brakes in the process, trying to get a bit off to get at the said tiny metal part.”Stuff this”, I thought, “I'll go and read some blogs to cheer myself up a bit.”

    I read yours first.

    It didn't cheer me up but by God it gave me a hefty dose of perspective.

    Gordonjcp (who can't log in at the moment)

  4. “God, people like you make me so ANGRY!!!”I'm sure I speak for most of the 74 previous posters when I say; that feeling is mutual!

    Ever heard the saying “If you've got nothing useful to say, say nothing”. We'll club together and have it chiselled on your tomb stone.

  5. “God, people like you make me so ANGRY!!!”I'm sure I speak for most of the 74 previous posters when I say; that feeling is mutual!

    Ever heard the saying “If you've got nothing useful to say, say nothing”. We'll club together and have it chiselled on your tomb stone.

  6. Tom, also reading this via your post today, and must say I'm really touched, I have a daughter almost that age, and can even think of what I would do if that happened to me.I'm a fan of the 2 medical dramas on BBC, and see them act scenes of failing to resuss a patient, but your account really brought it home.

    I'm grateful that there people like you in the LAS and other services out there to help save lives and are dedicated to their work even after things like this.

    Keep up the good work, it is really appeciated, the next time you are called out, it could be me or someone close to me. Thanks to all the Para Medics and the hospital support staff.

  7. I was looking for a job when this came up and the thing is even if we didn't know someone who died we should still feel bad why do you think on Sept. 11 2001 students stood in their classrooms in a moment of silence yes it is true people die but still all of those who loved that person miss the laughter, smile and joy they had. Imagine if your mother/father.sibling/child whatever died how would you feel?

  8. It is a shitty job, and unfortunately sometimes, you do have to leave your feelings behind – there is only so much emotional trauma any one person can take. Yet you keep doing it for the times when things do go right. The times when you do get a patient breathing again. The times when just one small seemingly insignificant thing that you do saves someone's life. Those are the good times. Those are the times that you're in the job for. Not times like this.My sympatheses go out to the family, and I hope that both yourself and the crew are alright (mentally and physically in your case).

    Kindest regards,


  9. My thouhgts are with the poor girls family, i'd hate to experience the loss of a child, I think it would finish me off personally.Liz & Baby Josh

  10. God, I dont even know what to say… only that you're extremely brave… maybe it DOES help to switch off as I know I wouldnt be able to cope… I have nieces that age and it would knock me for six… Keep up the good work (and you're not a monster!)

  11. God, I dont even know what to say… only that you're extremely brave… maybe it DOES help to switch off as I know I wouldnt be able to cope… I have nieces that age and it would knock me for six… Keep up the good work (and you're not a monster!)

  12. (((((Tom))))) so sorry. I know the blankness that comes with a series of jobs, and the way the feelings catch up with you later on. You do a terrific job but you can't do miracles. Look after yourself. Sending love.

  13. Reynolds,All my attempts at commenting come across as trite rubbish so I've deleted them. So have a virtual hug instead.


  14. Look after yourself mate. It's not a nice position to be in. Make the most of your service's support services.-Klig

  15. I can symapthise with what you are going through having attended an eleven year old in Cardiac Arrest. It is a right shitty job and you always pull out all the stops to get the patient back again. Sometimes however things just don't work out right in the end.Look after yourself and use the stress counsellors (or whatever LAS calls them) they don't normally offer advice but they do give you someone who you can talk to.

  16. I also cannot comment without it sounding trite and crap, so sending a big hug to you and the family instead.

  17. We are so lucky to have skilled and compassionate people like you to help in times of trouble. *Big Hug* My thoughts are with everyone mentioned in the post.

  18. My heart ached for you, the girl, and her family when reading your article. Even when its part of a person's job, these experiences are so stressful. Take care of yourself.

  19. What a hideous job. I don't know whether to be pleased your resources were used for once (rather than another materna taxi) or sorry that it didn't work out.Reading that post reassures me that paramedics do their best for everyone, and that I'd feel safe in their hands. And I guess it also made me feel good about letting an ambulance pull out in front of me this morning.

    You're doing a great job. All I'm doing in mine is websites – accessible ones, yes, but it won't change people's lives. You can.

    Sometime, will you post your thoughts on giving blood, and people who do and don't do it, and the rules about doing so – if this is something you have an opinion on?

    Flash Wilson –

  20. Tom,My first comment and I'll keep it simple:


    Thank you for being there and doing a tough job

    Thank you for sharing it with us (it sure puts my problems in perspective!)

    Thank you for being able to go back to work again after such a shitty experience.

    Total respect and admiration


    PS NO WAY are you a monster! You have to put the “ones that got away” behind you so that you can help the next soul you find needing that level of support

  21. Working on children can be the hardest thing that any HCP has to do. But try to take comfort in the fact that you used all your skills and tried your best to keep the child alive. Remeber that you can't save anyone but concentrate on the ones that you can save because they will always be grateful that you do the job you do.Kate Barlow

  22. I read via livejournal after a member of ambulance dispatch who writes a journal spoke about you. Your work, your dedication, and your writing are amazing. Thank you :-)ladycat

  23. My ex-wife was a paramedic. I remember one time she had to fight a middle-aged bloke to get him into the back of the ambulance because he wouldn't believe he was having a heart attack. By the time they reached the hospital he was unconcious and receiving CPR. He survived, but if she and her partner hadn't chosen to manhandle him into the ambulance he would have been dead.Remember the ones you save. If you hadn't been there, the girl would have died anyway. Because you were there, she had a chance.


  24. Not posted before. Only started reading after the BBC article. This situation was just awful, especially as the family didn't really think she was that ill initially. With my first child, a daughter, only 9 months' old I feel utterly devastated for her family – and for you.

  25. The numbness after something like that can be frightening. I'm not in a caring profession (quite the opposite) but I speak to bereaved familes a lot, and my job involves getting to know as much about the (tragically and prematurely) dead person, and the impact of their death, as possible. When I first started doing it, of course I'd come home and cry. I was more worried the first time it didn't really bother me.But if you're dealing with tragedies for a living, you do need to develop an emotional shield. It doesn't mean you don't understand the searing pain the family are going through, or that you don't go through it yourself when you have your own sadness. It doesn't even mean that there won't be situations and people that still affect you deeply.

    But it means you can continue to go about your job effectively without it destroying you – and when the job's as important as the one you're doing, that's all the more important. If you'd had a moment of clarity through the adrenalin rush while you were treating that poor girl, would you have been able to do as much for her?

  26. I just want to repeat what the poster said above.Thankyou.

    From all of us in society who may one day have to call you or your colleagues, thank you for doing something that we could not do, and caring so much

    Look after yourself, and keep on fighting.


  27. At first I was just going to send a hug, but I wanted to add a comment too. Yes, this poor girl died, and that's awful and yes her family will always have this to deal with, but how many people have you prevented from dying? How many families have you kept intact, who don't have to go through the pain each day of having lost someone? I couldn't do your job, but you do and that's amazing. Part of your job is coping when you can't save everyone, and that doesn't make you a monster. You couldn't carry around the grief for every person who's died. You wouldn't be able to function so you wouldn't be able to go and save so many other people.Vikki Spence (Ewan's wife)

  28. Yours and JonnyBs are the only blogs I regularly read. Up until now Ive never felt the need to post a comment. Now when I do, I really dont know what to say.No empty platitudes just cheers for doing what you do.


  29. That sounds awful. I admire you for being able to see things like this and not go stark raving bonkers.Did you ever find out what the girl died of?

  30. Reynolds,You did the best job that could have been done. You did everything you could. You DO care about it- but your mind can't process it all as it all happens because if it did you would have a breakdown- and you would not be able to do your job.

    Somewhere your subconscious will protect you from things like this when you see them all the time; you process them in your own way. A client of mine had her firstborn die from meningitis earlier this year. It hit me… when I was walking with my friend and her kids to the local village church and the baby's grave was there (I didn't know she was buried there). Maybe you won't have that sadness for them now. Maybe not tomorrow. But when you are ready you will; I think it's differentiating between something that is your sadness and something that is empathetic sadness.



  31. I just talked to my mum (a nurse) about her work a couple of hours ago and now I've just read this. The emergency services are so undervalued and yet when asked, they are very modest and say that they are “just doing their job”. I cannot begin to appreciate all the hard work that is done by you guys.A big, hugh THANKS from us mere mortals.

  32. firstly i totally agree with everything that has previously been said, i dont know how you and all your colleagues deal with it all. sometimes shite just happens despite our best efforts.thank you for making me feel human when sometimes i wonder. my prayers and best wishes to you and all you meet,personally and professionally.

  33. Sick children are never a good thing. Having been a “customer” in similar circumstances when my then 3 year old daughter collapsed, shook and stopped breathing, this brought back an awful lot of memories. Thankfully my daughter pulled through, although she is brain damaged and epileptic (amongst other things), and it has been repeated a few times since. I thank you and your colleagues from all over the UK for the brilliant service that we have received over the last 12 years.You guys are appreciated enormously. Keep up the good work and I hope your wrist and hip recover.

  34. I've been reading your blog for a while, but never posted a comment before. However, after reading today's, I just wanted to repeat the sentiments of everyone who has already posted – you're appreciated, and hang in there.

  35. Being a dispatcher, sometimes the only way to deal with what's happening is to shut down. It took me quite a while to feel “normal” again after having a 13yr old child die. It doesn't happen often, but it sticks with you when it does. And sometimes you just have to grieve.You, and all your colleagues (around the world), are much appreciated and respected.


  36. My Heart goes out to you and the family of the girl. Its this type of Job that always makes mine and my colleagues hearts sink our thoughts are with you

  37. Reading what you've written above tells me that this is not something you have just “walked away from”. Yes you've learnt to cope with such things but I believe your humanity shines through in what you've written. Probably a good time to get back to painting that new batchelor penthouse you've got.

  38. Well said. I agree with that totally. Being practically useful and feeling the whole episode emotionally at the same time is impossible. Luckily, Whatever/ Whoever is responsible designing us, made sure there wouldn't be a 'points failure' on this part of the track. Later is the time for feelings…on the spot is the time for accuracy and action.Prepare to feel like jelly later and go with it.

    Like all the others have said…THANKS.

  39. Man, you are a hero, the tales you tell. And what you're doing is not just a job. Not even heroes win them all.Take care.

  40. Being able to shut down the emotions is what allows you to ignore vomit and do your job. It is a useful skill for anyone who works for people who have had traumatic injuries or illnesses. How much worse the family would have been had their daughter simply died on the road, no help, no explanation.Particularly bad situations do leave scars. They shape us. Only wasted if we do not learn from them.

    Hug a friend.

  41. What shall I say?All said already…

    Look after yourself, have a rest and stay as u r will ya?!

    You have all done your very best and you know that dont you?

    People die, the younger the harder for everyone and childrens deaths never leave your mind in a way, thats natural.

    Do u know what the girl actually died of?

    I mean when u r 12 u dont actually fall over, stop breathing and just die unless u have suffered from anything serious before, right? (I would reckon)


    PS: Get well soon, what did u actually exactly do with your wrist and hip (didnt get that part)?

  42. Wow, things must work differently over here…In New Zealand, ambulance personnel have no more rights than a normal person, we don't even have out own legal act (unlike fire & police)

    If we manhandled someone into an ambulance we would be done for assault and kidnapping.

  43. I would like to echo the comments of everyone above. It is surely the only way that you are able to do your job by “switching off”. My father was a policeman for over twenty years and has dealt with some pretty horrific things. I also used to date a guy who was in a Mountain Rescue Team. Having talked to them both about it, you realise that you have to switch off or else you simply would not be able to carry on.If it is any comfort, at least you know that everything possible was done to help her.

    You guys do a fantastic job and there are plenty of people out there who appreciate what you do.

  44. The fact that you do your job proves the kind of person you are, you are appreciated more than you'll ever truly know. Take heart.

  45. My mum died at the early age of only 61, 13 years ago today. Despite the valiant attempts of the paramedic team that attended her, we only found out afterwards (post mortem results) that no matter what they did nothing could have helped as a valve in her heart had failed and even if she was in hospital it wasn't likely that she would have survived. But they tried, so hard, and never gave up until the doctor attended to officially certify death at the scene. The family was so grateful, but we never had the opportunity to say it face to face.So for all of you guys, you do a tremendous job, under the hardest circumstances and you are heroes to the rest of us.


  46. Tom, get that hip and wrist looked at in a serious way sooner rather than later – I have shades of this being one of those seemingly BS injuries that makes your life difficult every day and makes you a crabby old man a few ten years down the road.As for the rest, I'm sorry. At least the girls' parents (and some data suggests even an asystolic girl) got to see you doing what you could as well as I'm sure you do it.

  47. As an EMT Vol Fire fighter in the US, I have experienced that there is nothing…period…worse than kid calls. That's it, there's nothing else to say.

  48. as a paeds a&e nurse I can completely understand what you went through tues…. my first death in the dept was a 12yr old who having come in talking was dead within an hour with meningitis (she'd had the rash for 12hrs without the parents realising its significance) despite my recognition of it within seconds and the immeidate support of both A&E and Paeds Regs/sho's to try and help her.I'm sure you often hear us a&e nurse's moaning about some crews sometimes, but a great majority of the crews I see (across the river from you) are fantastic and feel to work with them.

    hope you're enjoying your nights off, don't forget to use paracetamol and brufen together for your injuries!!!!

    Jen x

  49. been reading a while and never commented but i feel i just need to add to the vast waves of possitive thoughts.Nothing new to add, just thanking you for the job you do.


  50. Tom, it must be really tough on you. But read this (in case you haven't seen it yet),2763,1542032,00.html and then you'll see that while tragedy happens all around, with people dying and others getting away with murder, the real tragedy is the apathy that people can show towards others, the lack of consideration, the selfishness, the lack of humanity. People will always die, there will always be accidents and horrible, painful situations, leaving loved ones full of grief and desperation. But to be one of the ones who is fighting against this, to be one of those who cares and who is willing to put himself out to avoid pain and suffering and protect life – even if it is one sneezing child or maternataxi at a time – is a wonderful thing which makes you a great human being.Office worker.

  51. I am so sorry for the little girl and her family. You do a great job though, if feels good to know people like you are out there. Look after yourself!Cathrine

  52. I'm really, really glad that sensitive and dedicated people like yourself are prepared to do the things that need to be done if we want to think of our society as a decent one. You and your colleagues throughout the NHS make me proud.

  53. These jobs are the ones that you hope you will never get, but when you do you you go into auto pilot and you don't feel anything. My thoughts go out to you the crew and obviously the family for their loss. Remember it is sometimes easier not to think about the job, but you are human and you will.SMM

  54. My heart goes out to you Tom – and to the girl's family. I hope your injuries are better soon and all will be well with you.Pat

  55. You're not a monster, but you are unusual.Not everybody could calmy do the right thing, ignore the vomit, the consequences of a mistake, the fact that it's a child, and just go ahead and do the very best thing possible under the circumstances.

    My son is 4. If anything happened to him, I pray by all that is Holy that it's someone like you who's there to help.

    They may collapse in a sobbing heap afterwards, when the neccessity for calm rationality is past, but at the time, I want them dispassionate and professional. Like you were.

    Now what about you? Not just the injury you sustained, but the grief? If you think you've not been psychologically affected by this, get a second opinion please. The blooging of it will help, being able to talk to all your readers, people who care about you, The virtual hugs will help there too. But please, please take it easy on yourself. Not just because you're a damn fine paramedic who has saved and will save many lives, but because we care about you as a human being who's been through something so traumatic that few could survive it intact.



  56. Dramatic? Of course. Traumatic? Possibly. But “so traumatic that few could survive it intact”? I dont know. I think doing that job it is still bad but not killing you.Nevertheless I am sorry. Most for the family who have to cope

  57. There's lots of walking wounded out there. People who often have their objectivity worn down. They often don't know it until one day they wake up crying and can't get out of bed.PTSD is an occupational hazard of all caregivers when hit by the death of a child.

    You can survive a lot, but surviving intact without some sympathy being shown to you by others, and maybe taking a short breather, that's another matter.

    Sorry, seen too much on Dept of Veterans Affairs databases about military people in similar situations not to be concerned.

  58. In a case like this only a sociopath could fail to feel the utmost sympathy for both yourselves, as medical professionals, and the family of the girl. Any death is sad, the death of a child is the worst sort of tragedy.Any offer of help from myself or pretty much anybody else would be to trivialise how you feel, so I can only offer my heartfelt sympathy.

    Be lucky!

  59. Just had to add my sympathies for yourself and, of course, the family. Hope you're back soon, fella. Rest up the wrist, hip and brain 🙂

  60. You shouldn't stand in a moving vehicle, resus or no resus; you should be sitting in a seat wearing your seat belt at all times.H & S Rep.

  61. What a load of sentimental twaddle. Children are dying by the thousand in Africa every day. Why do you care about one twelve-year-old whom you've never met before? God, people like you make me so ANGRY!!!

  62. If you can't care for one life, especially when you're the one trying to save it, how can you possibly even being to care for the many?Every life is as important as the next. If we choose to assign any other value to them then we are in a very poor place indeed. Reynolds did what he could to save a child's life. I really hope from your statement that, right now, you are doing everything you can to save the lives you mention.

    There are many charities who will benefit enormously from skilled workers giving their time either domestically, or abroad. Go dig wells, distribute drugs, educate the poor. But don't criticise someone, or those who read this story, for caring.

    I truly hope that you are someone who is giving your all to save these lives. By that I mean doing more than having a direct debit that punts a few quid to charity once a month and I hope that you never have to be directly touched by the tragedy of witnessing a child die first-hand.


  63. QUOTE: “What a load of sentimental twaddle. Children are dying by the thousand in Africa every day. Why do you care about one twelve-year-old whom you've never met before? God, people like you make me so ANGRY!!!”People die in the thousands right across the world EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. Look at Niger for example … Look at Zimbadwe … Look at Iraq … People die. Fact. Why do you care for these thousands of children in Africa, who you'd never have known about if it wasn't on CNN/BBC/ITV/SkyNews, and yet you don't care about the rest of the population of the world who are suffering and dying needlessly? “God, people like you make me so ANGRY!!!”

    At no point does Tom EVER trivialise what's happening in Africa, or anywhere else. Why should he? He's a human being – he has thoughts and feelings too.

    But have you ever been there when a child dies? Have you held that child in your arms, and watched as it took it's last breath? As it struggled desperately to survive against overpowering odds? Do you think you'd not be affected by it? People like Tom, people in Emergency Medicine, people who CARE FOR OTHERS, chance this every day of the week. Every time that phone rings, every time Control dispatches them to anything, they are risking their own emoticonal state to go do something which they love.

    And before you retort, “They get paid for it!! QED, it's fine for them.”, consider something. You go to any Ambulance Station, any Hospital, any Control room and you ask, “Why do you do this?”. 9 times out of 10, the answer will not be “for the money”. If you want any more prime example, look at the volunteer services – things like St John, British Red Cross. Do we get paid anything? No. Yet we can and do get sent to 999 calls, right there alongside Paramedic Ambulance crews. Why? BECAUSE WE CARE.

    So, unless you want to name yourself, and prove that you do something that helps others, STFU.

    A very very annoyed Nick,

    (Apologises Tom for going on a rant in your thread)

  64. So you have personally met the African children about whom you claim to care so much? And isn't there an awful lot of “sentimental twaddle” peddled about the situation in Africa by people who feel the need to look good in society's eyes? If the Government hadn't poured so much money into Africa, then perhaps we would have a better NHS. Remember that charity begins at home. Well done to Tom for doing a damn good job in difficult circumstances.

  65. Yeah Tom – getting worried about you, and I'm sure I'm not the only one! Hope everything's ok ((((((Tom))))))Angus Prune

  66. I have to admit that I find some of the comments a bit OTT. I (like thousands of others in the country) work to help the dead, dying and seriously ill everyday of my work within the NHS. This thread seems to have brought out the Reynolds massive in droves, which appears to have brought about much hero worship with it.I would like to say that Tom is not the only hero in the NHS. EVery single person who works within the service has gone out of their way to try and aid those who have not been able to live without care and attention from highly qualified people.

    What I am trying to say is that, from my point of view, Tom writes very well, capturing very well the thoughts, feelings and fears that every NHS frontline professional goes through.

    I do feel however that some of the comments go beyond “well done mate” and in the the spectrum of “bloody embarrassing”. If some of you had said to me what you are saying on here, I would have wished for the ground to swallow me whole.

    We are all brave, we are all hero's and we are ALL here for YOU. No thanks is needed.

    Cheers guys and I hope I dont appear to be too much of a dick!

  67. “No thanks is needed”Granted most of the time 'thanks' goes without saying. However, Reynolds seemed to be in need of hugs and the odd thank you, and there are days when I'd feel grateful for this amount of support. As for hero worship – it's not. It's just plain old human amazement that there are people who can do this sort of thing at all, let alone go back and do it again the next day.

    Angus Prune

  68. Yes, I agree entirely. All these e-hugs are rather ridiculous, and if I were Tom I'd be mortified. My point above about Africa was not an attempt to justify the over-emotionality of some of the posters here, but rather to highlight how trite it is to trot out the “think of the children in Africa” argument.

  69. This is the strange thing about blogs… I've never had a conversation with Tom. Yet, when he reports about things that have happened and particularly the more disturbing events like this, I feel almost like I'm responding to a friend. (I really should spend less time on the internet).As you say, Tom is capturing the thoughts, feelings and fears that every NHS frontline professional goes through. But he's the individual we know about specifically. It's a bit like if my friend X passes an exam or crashes their car or has a baby. I'd know that many other people had done the same thing, but it's my friend who I'd be making a fuss of… and yes, I would probably go OTT.

    I don't think you're a dick. And I appreciate that NHS staff don't* go around wearing their underpants over their trousers. Well done the lot of you, whether you like it or not!


  70. Gosh this thread is exploding and some of the comments are a bit weird in my book and some of the “Poor-hero-we-suffer-with-you”-posts a bit over the top as well.Anyway his absence and all the comments above together seem to give the impression that a world has broken down or something like that. Scary.. Shouldnt be like that should it?

    Tom where are you? Save us from any more freaky postings, pleeeease *kidding*


  72. Found this via your current top post.I just wanted to say you have a hero's reflexes – that's all. The emotional side switches right off, to let you be perfectly efficient, and I would guess that the length of time it takes for emotions to register again is dependant on more than exhaustion, but also, like the fight or flight reflex, on how much the situation means to you. So 'not feeling' is a side effect of feeling a great deal but knowing you have to concentrate; like shorting an electrical connection.

    …if that makes any sense at all. You think?

    As deaths go, sounds like she had a quick and fairly gentle one.

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