Your first time.

There is nothing more terrifying than realizing that you are going to be working a code on a baby or a little one. 

Particularly if you are a parent.

It doesn’t matter if that child is tossed to you as you roll up in your ambulance, or if that little one is presented to you on a stretcher in the ER with an EMT/Medic making all kinds of promises to whoever they choose to believe in if only that patient’s heart would start beating again.

It’s something that sticks with you.  And it should.

Remember that.

You’re a human being, and these are the only true innocent’s in this world.  They’ve done nothing wrong.

If it didn’t bother the hell out of you, something’s probably a little wrong in your head.

Know this, your people are here for you, and if you need to talk, we’ll listen.  I’ve been through it, unfortunately, and many others have as well.  We might not have much to offer other than a hug and a nod, and a listening ear…

Sometimes that’s all you need.  God knows that’s what got me through it.  It’s the only thing that got me through it.

And ya know what?  If you need more than someone to listen, then be sensible enough to go get what you need.  There’s no shame in that, and if anyone as much as HINTS otherwise I will personally hunt them done and kick their ass.

Hang in there, Darlin’.  You did everything you could. And I had countless other folks with far more experience than myself tell me that, and it didn’t make a difference.  I still cried my eyes out.  I still had nightmares, and I still hugged my kids extra hard.  And I still do.  All of them at times.

You are a human being with a heart.  You aren’t God, and you don’t have a magic wand to determine who’s worthy to live and who’s not.  And you know that.

So go easy on yourself, and know that you did what you could.


  • Thank you, Epi. Truly.

    And to anyone who has been there before, thank you too. Its not easy.

  • Greybeard says:

    Yeah, sometimes you do your best and it’s just not enough.
    But if you’ve given your best, at least they had a shot.
    You, (and they) can’t ask for more.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Medic999 says:

    Perfectly said Epi!

    Nothing to add….

    (If you havent already seen it or done it, this would be perfect for this months edition of ‘The Handover’ EMS blog carnival. It is being hosted by ‘The Insomniacs Guide to Ambulances’ this month and you can email the link to The Theme this month is ‘Kids, seen and not hurt’, (anything to do with kids)

  • JS says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this before… Its great advice. JS

  • Father of Sweet P says:

    I’ve been in this situation once. But I was on the other side: I was the father who handed off my daughter.

    For sure, the docs and staffers were all grim-faced and efficient, but as the parent, I didn’t notice them. The kind words were appreciated on some level, even as you want to tell them to Shut the f*ck up and find the machine that brings her back! Eventually, enough scrub-suited medical folk hold your shoulder and choke out “I’m sorry” for you to believe it’s real, and they don’t have some miracle-machine to wheel out.

    That’s about the point where the parents collapse, emotionally and maybe physically.

    God willing, the next baby you are handed will, ultimately, lead a long healthy life.

  • Kat says:

    I’m an EMT-B, who will be starting medic school in the fall and most days I love my job.
    Yesterday was not one of those days. First peds code-2 year old baby girl. Right now it hasn’t fully hit me, however I can’t tell you how greatful I am for this post.
    Its what I needed to read. Thanks

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