The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. Standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes.
So it was this week when the QAS was tasked with the responsibility of transporting our palliative patient from their home of 40 years into the local hospital for her end of life care. Hard to imagine how it must feel to leave your home knowing you will never return, but the kindly paramedic on that day showed great compassion for the situation.
Our respite volunteer conveyed the story.
When the paramedic arrived our bed bound patient asked, “did you see my horses as you drove in?’ “Yes” he had and said “I stopped to say hello to them”. He waited patiently as a friend and the volunteer completed packing the lady up for hospital, recognising the patients obvious reluctance to leave. After much tooing and froing, the time came when she was on the stretcher and loaded into the back of the ambulance. Surprisingly the ambo said to her friend, “you hop in the back” and likewise to the volunteer “you get in the front seat”, and then he slowly drove around the property before stopping and opening up the back doors so the patient could say goodbye to her beloved horses. He then continued up to the front gate, stopped and once again opened the back doors, giving her the time to look back over her home, shed some quiet tears and say an unhurried goodbye. The friend and volunteer waited at the gate and waved her off as the ambulance left.
Our volunteer was so touched by the human kindness demonstrated by this health care professional, who stepped outside of his normal role of rushing a patient to hospital to avoid an event – and instead recognised the occasion and provided an event, prior to taking the patient to hospital.
Empathy is finding echoes of another person in yourself. Thank you to this lovely paramedic for his care of our much loved patient.