OCTOBER 29, 2015
Sometimes that toll can be devastating. According to the National Coronial Information System, 110 Australian emergency service workers committed suicide between 2002 and 2012 — that’s one police officer, firerie or paramedic every six weeks.
AS A paramedic, Jordan Emery was used to witnessing people in intense pain and raw grief at the very moment of their most desperate suffering. For the most part, he was able to manage his emotions and remain resolutely professional. But this call out was different.
Paramedic is one of the occupations with Australia’s highest suicide rates.Picture: Marc McCormackSource:News Corp Australia
“A motorcyclist was seriously injured,” Mr Emery told news.com.au.
“He had horrific injuries and he spoke to me a lot on the way to hospital. He had this very strong sense that he was dying, his injuries were consistent with that and he wanted me to tell his mum and brother how sorry he was for what had happened, how much he’d loved them and how good they’d been to him throughout his life.”
“He was the same age as my little brother,” a clearly moved Mr Emery said, “it was a dialogue between me and a complete stranger but it struck me because, in many ways, it felt like my little brother was lying there before me.”
Mr Emery said it was often those cases where the victim reminded them of someone in their own lives which affected emergency personnel the most — parents responding to an injured child, for instance, or an elderly person who had passed away who was the same age as their own parents.
“In the past, there might have been this idea that it’s your job to get over it, that you’re supposed to be tougher than this if you’re a paramedic,” he said, “but for me it’s about honouring the traumas you see rather than the idea that you shouldn’t think about it.”
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