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Paramedic Suicides


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I must admit, I have been having second thoughts regarding Mikeymedic's apparent indifference to the suicide rate in EMS. Back when I was on the cusp, I had much the same attitude. It wasn't until recently that I realised that my indifference to the suffering of those on the job around me was not only causing them harm, but more importantly, myself. The attitude that if you can't hand;e the heat, stay out of the kitchen is rampant amongst those in our line of work, and truth be told, those words came from my mouth as well. Until I realised that it was just my cover, my denial and bravado was my coping mechanism and it was a hair's breadth from failing me and those I love.

I think this is it.

When I look at my peers who have developed PTSD, it's hard to discount their experiences and say, "This couldn't have been me". I think we all have our breaking point. I think that our abilities to cope with the traumatic events we experience are often related to how well our personal lives are. It's easier for me to deal with difficult calls when things are good at home. When they're not, I'm simply more vulnerable.

It's easy to judge someone else for having PTSD. If you judge that individual, you don't have to accept that that could have been you. These attitudes prevent us from seeking help, and prevent our peers from seeking help, and ultimately they probably contribute to the suicides that happen. It's a terrible thing to sit back afterwards and wonder, what could we have done to prevent this?

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From our paramedic association:

It was with great despair that the Association of Saskatchewan Paramedics learned of the sudden passing of our brother, Jack Spyker on March 18. Jack had been employed as Primary Care Paramedic for the past two years at WPD Ambulance in North Battleford, Sask. The loss of his friendship has left many asking the question, Why? Tributes from around the world are appearing on facebook, messages of condolence and of loss. Many will miss his friendship, companionship, and loyalty.

The loss Jack’s compassion and empathy for his patients is a torch that others will bear in his stead, for his brothers and sisters will always be here to lift the burden from sagging shoulders.


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