Friday, January 13, 2012

Who's Your Mama?

Had an interesting thing happen at a call that makes me wonder if there is a place for another aspect of patient care, or, if not, how we can integrate this into what we're already doing.

The call was a minor MVA. A sign off.

It was witnessed by a woman who stopped to help. She didn't feel that she could just keep driving and leave whoever it was there alone.  She went to the driver's door, told him not to move until the EMTs got there. A neighbor came out and offered a blanket, and she wrapped the driver in it, and held his hand.

She told him that for the time being, she was his "second Mom."

She got out of the way when EMS arrived. After the ambulance left, she resumed her "second Mom" role, rewrapping the driver in the blanket as she put her arm around him and walked him to the car of a friend who had come to give him a ride, since his car wasn't going anywhere for a while.

Two things struck me.

One is that for us, as EMS, to tell a patient we're his "second Mom" and to ramble on about taking care of him until his Mommy can, would be a bit out of place. Our primary job is to assess the patient, and see that his medical needs are taken care of. It's not that we ignore emotional needs- we clearly should not- but we aren't our patients' Moms, really. To cast ourselves in that role is kind of personal, and I think for some patients, it would be unwelcome.

The other is that it was very sweet.
There is absolutely a role for doing whatever it takes to help the patient feel cared for, and this lady did an excellent job of that.

So where, in our role, does that fit? How do we provide the best care, physically and emotionally, without overstepping? I think I might consider this aspect more than some providers, since I AM a Mom. Just not usually the patient's Mom, thankfully. It does mean that there is that aspect, especially when the patient is young, whether actually pediatric, or closer to the ages of my kids, who are adults now.


  1. Being too mama-like could definitely hinder your effectiveness. But might there be times when you could allow other people to take that role as long as they don't get in your way?

    Sophie and I were driving down a busy 4-lane street one day when I saw an elderly man fall along the sidewalk. I turned around where I could and came back. A woman had walked over from a nearby parking lot and was just staring at him as he lay face-down on a small concrete slab in the grass that had evidently tripped him. She was doing nothing! I told her to call 911, which she did and then I knelt down and talked to the man. He was confused and thought I was his neighbor, but that was OK. He was calm but he couldn't tell me his address or phone number. I put my coat under his head but didn't try to move him. His head was bleeding, but not as bad as you might expect from a head wound.

    Now I'm getting to the point. When the EMTs arrived, I told them what I knew and then tried to get out of their way. I figured the experts didn't need me complicating their job. I was surprised when they insisted I stay beside the man and talk to him while they checked him out and got him on the stretcher. In fact, they quietly told me to ask him questions so we could find out how to reach his family. After they got him loaded up, one of the EMTs thanked me and said the guy had seemed to trust me so it helped them more if I stayed and kept him calm. I was impressed by their compassion, and I guess in a way, they let me be his "mom" for a while.

    And I never did find out what happened to the man, but I'm sure they took good care of him.

    1. Nice story- thanks for sharing it. I'm glad you were in the right place at the right time.
      I've had a few other calls where there has been a bystander who has been very helpful, but most of the time, we're not that lucky. Not that there are horrible bystanders, but most of the time, there isn't anyone.