I received an email from a person who provided CPR to their father but unfortunately, their father did not respond to the CPR and remained dead. The child who provided CPR to them is now dealing with incredible feelings of failure and guilt. They feel as though they failed their father. They feel as though they did not help enough. They are sad, but they also feel responsible that their loved one is gone.
I knew I had to respond to this as soon as possible so I recorded a direct message to them in hopes that it can help them understand that they did everything right and what’s more…they showed a wonderful act of love to their father. I hope this helps them but I also hope it helps others who are suffering from the same or similar feelings. Peace Be With You.
I received an email from a true rescuer who attempted to revive their neighbor by administering CPR. The neighbor did not survive and now the rescuer is feeling as though the may not have done enough to help. This is a very normal feeling for many rescuers. I’d like to share my thoughts and I hope it helps bring closure, confidence and peace.
THE FOLLOWING IS MY RESPONSE:
It sounds like you’ve had a rough couple of days. First, because a neighbor and potentially their friends and family members are experiencing a living nightmare right now and secondly, because you may be feeling like you did not do enough, or do it well enough.
These feelings are very normal and not because you did anything wrong. It’s just normal to feel sad that the situation did not turn out the way we would have wanted it to. The fact that you did any CPR at all means that you gave this gentleman a chance at survival. Please remember, CPR is not designed to save lives directly. It’s purpose is to slow the process of moving from clinical death to biological death down a little in order to possibly intervene with advanced life support and buy more time to get the person to the hospital. CPR can sometimes help the body respond to the medications and electrical therapy but it does not take away the reason the person went into cardiac arrest in the first place in most cases. There can be so many reasons why a patient goes into cardiac arrest and why the seemingly don’t respond. It’s important to remember that your neighbor was already clinically dead when you arrived by their side. You gave them and their family members a wonderful gift. You moved out of your comfort zone and gave this person a second chance at survival. Something they wouldn’t have had if you wouldn’t have tried. The fact that your neighbor did not survive cardiac arrest does not take anything away from your efforts and your compassion.
You acted bravely and selflessly. That is not the norm in our culture. You are the exception and I say well done! Please, be at peace knowing that the most experienced and effective rescuers don’t always achieve the outcome that others wish would happen. True rescuers try their best to make a possibility for a tomorrow, regardless of the outcome and make the world a more loving place and show the world compassion by doing so.
Be at peace knowing that you did a wonderful act of love and compassion.
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 the 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:
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,
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.