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Question
Posted by: Friend | 2005/12/08

Stress of police men and paramedics

My husband is in the police force and worked last night. He came home telling me how he witnessed a terrible accident. A bakkie went over a railroad, did not see the train coming and the train hit the bakkie with four small children inside. The driver and all of the children has terrible brain injuries and my husband told me that one little girl's whole face was disfigured and smashed in and he saw how she struggled for breath because her lungs were injured. This incident is all over the newspapers today. The stress of police men and paramedics is incredibly high, as they also witness suicide, murders, shootings and other terrible incidents.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hello Friend,
SOme of us have had closely similar experiences, and it's true that people tend to ignore the stresses that impact on such health and security / police workers. And whereas some such tragedies enter into each of our lives, for such professionals, their JOB is to attend to such tragedies much of the time. Where there is sensible management ( sadly, a minority of situations ) provision should be made for some counselling or at least for opportunities to blow off steam safely in a safe seting ; and to recognize when someone is getting burned out and needs a break. We cope by trying to avoid getting too personally involved at an emotional level, and concentrating instead on the extent to which we can be helpful. I remember even in the major car crash i was injured in, when I woke up, not realizing I had been concussed, or that my left arm was shattered, I stood up and started trying to help others who had been injured, until the ambulance personnel persuaded me to lie down on a stretcher and get taken to hospital myself. The satisfaction of being useful in some way, is a great help in such situations, and can at least put one in a better situation than civilians / law people who may suffer additional trauma from feeling helpless and useless.

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Our users say:
Posted by: blompot | 2005/12/08

I have the highest regard for paramedics, nurses, emergency services ext. Having a boyfriend that was a paramedic, a mom thats a nurse i do see the toll it has. I think its so crucial that these wonderfull people think about sometimes going for post traumatic stress counselling

Reply to blompot
Posted by: ~Wings~ | 2005/12/08

Dear Friend

I've been involved in the medical industry for 10 years (started at school as a St John Ambulance cadet) and have been a reservist for 2 years here in Jhb.

I got engaged in April and decided that it was time to move on from my volunteer work as a medic, because of the fact that I had someone else to consider who worries about my safety and the fact that people throw rocks at the fire trucks and ambulance, and attack the staff.

I don't want to go too much into what my personal beliefs are but Friend be assured that it takes a very special kind of person to do that sort of work, and I've attended to many accidents where I had to just stand back while the people were screaming inside the crushed taxis/cars because the jaws of life were needed to take them out and were not yet on scene.

Its a hard, tedious, job, but very rewarding, I personally believe my season to work in that environment, 12 hours at a time with no pay is over. I wouldn't do it full time because our government just doesn't pay !


There have been many many times when I've lost people, and I haven't slept for days. I think about their families and friends but I guess I have found comfort in knowing that I've done the best I could do.

Much love
Cherish your husband, everyday!
Love

~Wings~

Reply to ~Wings~
Posted by: Pencil | 2005/12/08

I work closely with emergency services of a private hospital group... know what you're talking about. The paramedics, doctors, nurses, policemen etc are VERY SPECIAL people... I really respect them and what they have to face everyday. Take care of your husband.... !

Reply to Pencil
Posted by: shooter | 2005/12/08

Hi friend, i know first hand what your husband is experiencing. watch him & try to get him to talk himself out the depression of the accident scene he worked. once you let something like that touchyou emotionally then you have an even harder time working thru it. BE VERY SUPPORTIVE & understand that he might become withdrawn for a while. if its bad then get him to the state pschologists/councelor for assistance. good luck (from an ex sap reservist)

Reply to shooter

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