Life and all its stages are wonderous. Even death can be peaceful and bring contentment.
An ambulance crew from Queensland, Australia, shared in these final moments as they honored a patient’s final request.
The terminally ill woman was on “her last journey back to [palliative care] where she was going basically to pass away.” But she had one request: she wished to see the ocean one last time before she was taken to hospice.
Paramedics Graeme Cooper and Danielle Kellan had the honor of transporting this dear lady. They received permission from their supervisors to take a small diversion to the beach.
It’s not the first time they have done something like this.
“In special cases where end of life stuff is going on … the contact we have is our last contact … [we want to] feel good about humans and people and the way they’re treated and managed so they get a good feeling,” Cooper said.
“It’s always someone else’s father, mother, brother. If I lose my compassion, I just won’t be in the job.”
“We’re very fortunate we’re in the role we do,” he continued. “If you’re sensitive to your surroundings … when a window of opportunity opens up, take it.”
Cooper and Kellan drove the woman to the ocean. A now-viral photo taken by Kellan shows Cooper standing beside the gurney, taking in the ocean view along with the woman.
“Tears were shed,” Helen Donaldson, officer-in-charge of Queensland Ambulance Service Hervey Bay, shared in a post on the service’s Facebook page. “The patient felt very happy.”
“Sometimes it is not the drugs/training/skills,” the ambulance crew said, “sometimes all you need is empathy to make a difference!”
Cooper described how he and his colleague granted the woman’s final wish:
“We popped her up on the hill where she could see the pier and Fraser Island and right through to Point Burrum, and she was ecstatic with it all.”
“I thought, ‘If all these rocks weren’t here I’d get down into my jocks and take you into the ocean,‘” he recalled. “And I would have, however I thought the next best thing was I could get some ocean and bring it to her. … She actually tasted the salt water.”
Cooper said his job affords him the opportunity to get to know people at a deeply intimate level.
“We’re real people too, and we share these moments with people when we go out and do the stuff we do,” he said.
Kellen asked the patient what she thought as she watched the waves.
“She said, ‘I’m at peace, everything is right,'” the paramedic recalled.
For their patient, all is right with her world. She can pass away with her heart light and spirit tranquil. All thanks to the compassion of these two fabulous paramedics.
This story is a good reminder for us all:
Life is beautiful. It is to be cherished and treasured. Don’t waste a moment on petty fights or problems. Live your days to their fullest, helping and loving others to the best of your ability.
Were you touched by what these paramedics did for this woman? So share this!