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What do I tell the parents?


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Depends on the circumstances. Is it a healthy kid or is this a baby with problems? Never a "right" way to do it. Feed off the parents and what they may need. Ask them if there is someone they can call for support- family, friends, neighbors, clergy, etc. Have them get any medical information together if pertinent. Have them get a doctor's phone number. In other words, keep them occupied as much as possible until you know the outcome. Telling them is NEVER easy, but be straight forward, do not couch your language because the first step in the grieving process- especially in something like this- is denial. Tell them that despite everything you tried, they baby did not respond to your efforts and has passed away/died/ etc. Answer any questions they have and if you do not know, find out for them.

Explain the process of what will happen next- obviously tailored to your locale: That law enforcement will probably need to make a death report, emphasize it's routine for any death and does not imply you believe anyone was negligent or criminal in nature, that because the death was unexpected, the baby will probably need to be taken to the medical examiner/coroner for an autopsy to determine a cause of death, and after that they will release the baby to a funeral home.

As was noted, you need to follow someone who has done this before- whether it be in a hospital or EMS situation. VERY hard thing to do, and unless you don't have a soul, it's never easy. Even after 30 years, it's still a difficult task for me. You'll develop your own approach, you will be able to tell what type of language to use, how detailed your description of the medical efforts needs to be, and what the family seems to need at that moment.

Obviously if you suspect foul play, you need to change things a bit. Ensure law enforcement is on the scene ASAP to preserve a potential crime scene. Be careful not to mention your suspicions to the parents, or anything that may compromise the case. You certainly can and should ask about any injuries, and thoroughly document the answers you get, with quotations. You still treat the parents with respect and dignity, as well as the baby, but remember you also have another obligation- to allow the police to be able to do their jobs and help figure out what happened. This would be a time when good report writing and documentation are crucial. This case WILL end up in court and you WILL be called to testify.

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Talk to them, don't treat them like idiots. This is the absolute hardest thing any parent will have to face and just talk to them and answer their questions, honestly. If they ask if their

All great advice! As a parent who has lossed a new born child. I would not wish this upon my worst enemy! What ever you tell the parents make sure it is the truth and remember when you

A couple of thoughts.... First is that you can spend some of that time reviewing the history with the parents. Normal birth? Any issues since? Any meds? What happened step by step leading up to

Herbie quoted As was noted, you need to follow someone who has done this before- whether it be in a hospital or EMS situation. VERY hard thing to do, and unless you don't have a soul, it's never easy. Even after 30 years, it's still a difficult task for me. You'll develop your own approach, you will be able to tell what type of language to use, how detailed your description of the medical efforts needs to be, and what the family seems to need at that moment

Yes that's correct. The guy I followed would cry with the parents and would with them if they did that. Every situation is and will be different.

I never got very good at this but I did it damned well in my own way, I formed a way of doing things that I woudl read the parents. IF they were angry I'd give em space, if they needed a hand held, I did that.

Have I cried with parents who lost their infant daughter, yes I have. Have I joked with the parents as well, if the situation allowed it and the parents were the instigators of the jokes, then yes I laughed.

Only you will know how you will react and until you have done the death notification/educaiton/helping you will need to be mentored by someone. It's what I consider one of the hardest jobs in ems.

ALWAYS remember, the parents of a deceased child are now your patients. The child is the coroners patient but the parents are yours now. It goes the same with spouses and family members when death comes to their loved one. You just change patients.

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Dwayne - I'm picking up what you are throwing down brother.

Concerned or grieving parents will appreciate genuine empathy. I have cried with parents and sat by silently while they did. The key is being real and available. I answerer their questions but try not to talk too much. If you really care they will get it although nothing really helps when a parent losses a infant.

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DFIB, where the hell have you been?

I've been missing you here...

The key is being real and available. I answerer their questions but try not to talk too much. If you really care they will get it although nothing really helps when a parent losses a infant.

+1

ps...Where the hell you been?? Been missing you here...

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That is a hoot! Good to see you as well.

Have been busy but am gonna try to get on a little more often. I do enjoy you guys and your comentary.

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Dwayne - I'm picking up what you are throwing down brother.

Concerned or grieving parents will appreciate genuine empathy. I have cried with parents and sat by silently while they did. The key is being real and available. I answerer their questions but try not to talk too much. If you really care they will get it although nothing really helps when a parent losses a infant.

I was told by a good mentor that you should follow the 70/30 rule when dealing with this situation or helping your best friend through something difficult.

let them talk 70 percent of the time and you talk 30 percent. Seems to be a good rule of thumb.

any more and you seem like a know it all but any less and you seem like a asshole for not caring. Fine line brother, fine line.

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It was asked wether or not you will bust out laughing or start crying. It happens. It goes with this line of work, we see people at their worst times yet are expected to be the rock for them. It will depend on your personality, current life situation ect ect.

There have been times I went outside and punched my rig, threw things in the back when alone, cried like a baby and laughed uncontrollably.

What will get you is when your away from the job and it happens. I have been walking with my wife and noticed a nice sunset and busted out in tears, I have been at the beach and started laughing at nothing. I feel letting the emotions out is one of the things that needs to be done to stay sane and empethetic in this line of work. Check out some of my threads in the personal section and you will see what I am talking about.

As for how to deal with the Parents? I don't know, I haven't had to do that yet so I do not feel any info I give would be genuine.

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I disagree with Herbie. I worked a few years for the so called "care team", a group of volunteer health care providers specialised in providing psychological support in those "hard" cases .

Our first rule always was "let them come".

Every person has it's own way of dealing with the shock and the grief they feel. Some people are simply denying the situation or even the existence. I remember a child-CPR with an 8 year old girl in an public swimming pool. Air ambulance and medics did really everything they could but the child never came back. During the ongoing CPR the mother asked us "Have the parents of this poor little girl notified what happend? Where is the girls mother?"...

For us this sounds irrational and maybe insane. But for the patient the denying of the situation is the only way to deal with the situation right now.

In such a situation you will harm your "patient" more than it will help when you try to occupy her with some tasks, especially when those tasks destroy the "shield of denying".

One of the major reasons for psychological traumas are described as the "loss of situation control". By "forcing" our help to someone we boost this problem. I know a few services who have a strict rule that parents must not be present during the CPR...and I know a few where the provider should bring them in always...Both are doing harm in some cases.... When a parent wants to be with his child - it's okay-...but i case that he or she doesn't want it... let it be...

Just to make my point clear, I'm not saying you should do nothing. Always offer your help. Introduce yourself, tell them that you are here to help them and offer them an "easy way" to contact you, i.e. offer them to bring them something to drink, a handkerchief or simply a hand to hold.

When youre getting more expierenced you will notice the moment when they want your help (it will come for sure) and know what to do and tell then.

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Tell the truth, use the word "dead", not passed on, expired, or didnt make it, so that there is no doubt what has occured.

Agreed. It leaves the family no sense of false hopes. You would be amazed what families think/hear in high stress situations. If you say, "They passed on," they think, "Well, why did the ambulance pass here and which hospital did they go to?" You get the idea.

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