Another Overdose

We arrived just as the crowd started losing control.

“He’s dead,” my partner informed me as I began CPR.

“I know.”

“Why are you doing CPR.”

“Cuz they don’t.”

 

Yeah he was dead. Yeah he was cold. Yeah he was going to stay dead.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s ten people just saw him breathing an hour ago. They don’t want to hear he’s dead. They have a life to live after he’s gone. They have some soul searching to do. They will have to explain to themselves and a whole lot of other people how their twenty year old friend overdosed in their house while they went on partying.

They have to know we tried. I think so, anyway, maybe I’m wrong, and times have changed, and a dead friend is no big deal.

 

“Screw them, said my partner.”

 

“Screw them? Screw me, just help me get him out of here, this isn’t going well.”

“Well what did you start CPR for?”

“Because dead twenty year olds deserve a chance. And there’s ten of them and two of us, and who knows when the cops will get here.”

 

We dragged the dead kid out of there, and the crowd tried to follow, some of them, anyway, others stood there, shocked.

 

People are not idiots forever. People change, they grow, they learn, they get better. Yeah, they screwed up, and yeah their friend is dead, and yeah he isn’t coming back.

But they didn’t put the needle in his arm, they didn’t kill him, and they need to get their heads out of their asses, smarten up and start getting better.

 

Their friend is dead. They are not. They deserve a chance.

4 Comments

  • Wendy Palmer says:

    My son was 19 y.o. when he died. It was November 28, 2015. I am his mother, an ER nurse. The call came in… “1700 Charleston Way, unconscious, not responding patient, possible overdose.” My heart immediately sank…it was MY SON!!! What had he done?? I rushed home to find police cars and ambulances at my house! My Father met me at the car and said, “He’s gone.” I screamed out in utter agony. When I got to him the paramedic and EMTs were not working on him. My Mother was yelling in the background, “They shocked him three times!” He lay there dead outside the bathroom that he had been locked inside. I was in shock and could not believe my eyes, but I know exactly what I saw before me. The paramedic approached me and showed me his EKG strip. Then he said,”his eyes were fixed and dilated.”
    When the ambulance arrived my Father was outside trying to get them to hurry inside the house. He said that the paramedic seemed to not be rushing to get inside the house. He was actually walking at a leisure pace, as if he did not feel the urgency of the situation. My Father kept saying, “Please hurry, please hurry!”
    When he walked in he asked my family (who had been administering CPR) to step aside and they did. My Mother had heard the EKG machine firing and thought they shocked him, but that was not the case.
    Instead, the paramedic decided not to work the case. He decided to let him remain dead after seeing that he was in asystole and that his pupils were fixed and dilated.
    However, the official report was very different. The report actually read, When EMS arrived at the Palmer residence the family told them that the victim was deceased (much to the contrary my Father was begging that they hurry).
    When my parents and my brother kicked the bathroom door in they found my son Benjamin sitting up aside the bathtub. His face was blue, his chest was mottled (which was common for my son, the mottling when he became slightly cool) and his body was STILL WARM. They dragged him out into the hallway and began CPR immediately!
    As I said before, they allowed EMS in and stepped aside for them to resuscitate my son.
    They did not give him epi or narcan even once! They did not bother continuing CPR or trying to intubate him. He was 19 years old!!!! It was an obvious drug overdose. They found a needle in the bathroom!
    The official report written by the paramedic on scene stated that he did not resuscitate based on asystole and pooling of blood.
    I can tell you, I have been a registered nurse for 25 years in critical care and in ER. His face was no longer blue, as he had been getting CPR (my Mother is also an RN). His lips were slightly blue. His chest was mottled. There was no lividity!
    This death determination was WRONG! He needed full-on resuscitation (narcan, epi, ETT, CPR) STAT!!
    I did not even receive an apology. I feel as though my son died twice that day. Once after he overdosed himself with Fentanyl-laced heroin (that I had no idea he was using), and then when the paramedic decided not to resuscitate him.
    I have to live with this nightmare every minute of every day!!!

  • Christine S. says:

    Wendy. I am so sorry. Know that people care.

    Best to you and your family.

  • Eloy Garcia says:

    Wendy I´m EMS Physician in Mexico City and know how terrible and devastated was this episode for you and your family. I try to do my best everyday when I´m on shift because I have empathy, something that many ems providers need to perform his duty.

    Best for you and yours

  • Michael Morse says:

    So sorry Wendy.

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