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  • I've been a critical care EMT for the past seven years in Suffolk County, New York.

  • I've been a first responder in a number of incidents ranging from car accidents to Hurricane Sandy.

  • If you are like most people, death might be one of your greatest fears.

  • Some of us will see it coming.

  • Some of us won't.

  • There is a little-known documented medical term called impending doom.

  • It's almost a symptom.

  • As a medical provider, I'm trained to respond to this symptom like any other,

  • so when a patient having a heart attack looks at me and says,

  • "I'm going to die today," we are trained to reevaluate the patient's condition.

  • Throughout my career, I have responded to a number of incidents where the patient had minutes left to live and there was nothing I could do for them.

  • With this, I was faced with a dilemma:

  • Do I tell the dying that they are about to face death, or do I lie to them to comfort them?

  • Early in my career, I faced this dilemma by simply lying.

  • I was afraid. I was afraid if I told them the truth, that they would die in terror, in fear, just grasping for those last moments of life.

  • That all changed with one incident.

  • Five years ago, I responded to a motorcycle accident.

  • The rider had suffered critical, critical injuries.

  • As I assessed him, I realized that there was nothing that could be done for him,

  • and like so many other cases, he looked me in the eye and asked that question: "Am I going to die?"

  • In that moment, I decided to do something different. I decided to tell him the truth.

  • I decided to tell him that he was going to die and that there was nothing I could do for him.

  • His reaction shocked me to this day.

  • He simply laid back and had a look of acceptance on his face.

  • He was not met with that terror or fear that I thought he would be.

  • He simply laid there, and as I looked into his eyes, I saw inner peace and acceptance.

  • From that moment forward, I decided it was not my place to comfort the dying with my lies.

  • Having responded to many cases since then where patients were in their last moments and there was nothing I could do for them,

  • in almost every case, they have all had the same reaction to the truth, of inner peace and acceptance.

  • In fact, there are three patterns I have observed in all these cases.

  • The first pattern always kind of shocked me.

  • Regardless of religious belief or cultural background, there's a need for forgiveness.

  • Whether it is called a sin or they simply say they have a regret, their guilt is universal.

  • I had once cared for an elderly gentleman who was having a massive heart attack.

  • As I prepared myself and my equipment for his imminent cardiac arrest, I began to tell the patient of his imminent demise.

  • He already knew by my tone of voice and body language.

  • As I placed the defibrillator pads on his chest, prepping for what was going to happen,

  • he looked me in the eye and said, "I wish I had spent more time with my children and grandchildren instead of being selfish with my time."

  • Faced with imminent death, all he wanted was forgiveness.

  • The second pattern I observe is the need for remembrance.

  • Whether it was to be remembered in my thoughts or their loved ones', they needed to feel that they would be living on.

  • There's a need for immortality within the hearts and thoughts of their loved one, myself, my crew, or anyone around.

  • Countless times, I have had a patient look me in the eyes and say, "Will you remember me?"

  • The final pattern I observe always touched me the deepest, to the soul.

  • The dying need to know that their life had meaning.

  • They need to know that they did not waste their life on meaningless tasks.

  • This came to me very, very early in my career.

  • I responded to a call.

  • There was a female in her late 50s severely pinned within a vehicle.

  • She had been t-boned at a high rate of speed, critical, critical condition.

  • As the fire department worked to remove her from the car, I climbed in to begin to render care.

  • As we talked, she had said to me, "There was so much more I wanted to do with my life."

  • She had felt she had not left her mark on this Earth.

  • As we talked further, it would turn out that she was a mother of two adopted children who were both on their way to medical school.

  • Because of her, two children had a chance they never would have had otherwise and would go on to save lives in the medical field as medical doctors.

  • It would end up taking 45 minutes to free her from the vehicle.

  • However, she perished prior to freeing her.

  • I believed what you saw in the movies: when you're in those last moments that it's strictly terror, fear.

  • I have come to realize, regardless of the circumstance, it's generally met with peace and acceptance,

  • that it's the littlest things, the littlest moments, the littlest things you brought into the world that give you peace in those final moments.

  • Thank you

I've been a critical care EMT for the past seven years in Suffolk County, New York.

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【TED】Matthew O'Reilly: "Am I dying?" The honest answer.

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    朱朱   に公開 2014 年 10 月 28 日
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