A Response To A Rescuer Who’s Attempts To Revive Her Father Were Unsuccessful

Dear Rescue Fans,

I received yet another loving email from a person who’s father died in the front of their automobile while they were driving them to the hospital. Due to things outside her control, she was unable to move her dad to the ground so she improvised and did CPR while he was reclined in tlost loved onehe car the best she could. She has struggled for some time with this and found some relief from my episode on “Did I Do CPR Wrong?”.
I just replied back to her and I have to believe there may be others who have tried to save a life with CPR and felt it was not successful. So I’m going to include my reply to her in this blog entry and for those of you who are suffering, I hope it helps.

This person said in her last paragraph of her email: “I have struggled with this in so many ways, yet feel comfort in being with him when he left. I have struggled to find any material that related to my experience. I have felt isolated in not being able to share how I lost my dad, This story, the words you have written, have helped me process and understand my own experience. Thank you.”

This was my response:
Dear __________,

I’m so very sorry for the loss of your Father. I’m sure this must have been most traumatic for both you and your mother. I want to re-ensure you that what you did for your dad that day, was the most brave and loving gift you could have given both your dad and your mum. Every thing you did sounds perfect in order to give your dad the best chance of survival possible under the circumstances. The fact that he did not survive the event does not have anything to do with your efforts. Remember, CPR is only a time buyer in case the person is going to respond to medications and advanced medicine. It’s not a guarantee. The fact that you had the courage to try and the compassion to help is amazing. Please let your mother know that her reaction to the situation is also very normal. She lost the love of her life. Her soul mate and her husband. It’s a nightmare that is happening for real, right before her eyes and it’s not wrong for her to be so overwhelmed with grief and fear that she could not help. That’s why paramedics are not called to their own homes for emergencies. It’s too emotional. So please, let your mother know that she is not at fault for her reactions either.

I hope and pray that you will receive peace during this time of healing. But please know that everyone has a day to die and it’s never easy to experience it. CPR just keeps the window of opportunity to survive open a little longer. You gave that to your dad. As a father myself, I can only imagine how I’d feel to know that my daughter loved me so much that she would give me CPR while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. What love.

Be at Peace,

-Roy
P.S. I’ve included the video that explains this message in detail. I recorded it so long ago, it’s hard to find so I’m going to bring it back to the top. Share it with anyone you may know who may benefit from it.

Roy Shaw

Roy is the lead trainer and co-founder of ProTrainings. He is also an EMT paramedic whose opinions about rescue come from many years of experience on the ambulance.

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6 comments on “A Response To A Rescuer Who’s Attempts To Revive Her Father Were Unsuccessful

  1. Thank you so much for this, tried CPR on our neighbour today.
    Initially panicked and didn’t think – then the memories of training kicked in and I knew what to do.
    Sadly he did not make it (paramedics tried for about 20 minutes to revive him) and I know that if I had started sooner it might have made a difference, but it felt so different to the training. Your video and message really helped.

    Thank you

  2. I, too, feel the extreme sadness, out-of-control – overwhelming guilt, in addition to the sadness from the loss of my father. As did the woman in the email, I tried to perform CPR on my father — and will never find comfort knowing I was not successful. My poor father suffered full cardiac arrest – realizing he was not breathing, and on the phone with 911, they instructed me on how to perform CPR. My last image is seeing my father’s face as I looked at him and tried to breathe life into his mouth until the paramedics arrived and took over. I will never forget that image. I am only happy that my mother was not alone during this, and that this is not her never-ending image of a man she loved dearly and spent 60+ years of life together.

    I am at a loss where to get help with this — it’s not just the grief of losing someone I loved so deeply, but also the extreme void in know I could not help and guilt in feeling like I failed my father. I so hope he did not suffer through it all, and I hope he knows how much he is loved.

      • Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it very much. Just such a unique type of situation. People try to be supportive, and comforting, but generally defer to the loss — and, understandably, are uncomfortable to discuss the other feelings. I do appreciate your taking time, and so quickly responding to my message … and hope anyone else who goes through this type of situation can find a place where others might be able to truly understand what and how they are feeling.

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