18 October 2006


I've never before worked a job with a badge, so I've never been asked to wear a black mourning band around my badge and felt the heavy weight of rememberance that brings to ordinary activity. I look around the station and all I see are the black bands. I don't normally even notice the badges anymore, unless somebody is missing one. I was at the station at 1700 shift change and watched everyone adorn their badges for the next shift.

Everyone was quiet and subdued around the station, with the exception of cranking up the TV every time another news report came on. I know all the public details about the death, the deceased and the killer because I've seen every report repeated every 10-15 minutes. I also know some of the private details from the folks who worked the scene. I indirectly know someone who worked on the trauma team at the hospital. I know that the patient was fairly deceased long before they pronounced him dead, or they would've sent for the helicopter to Boston.

I don't know how to deal with the situation. I did not know the deceased personally, hadn't worked with him like some other folks. I can't imagine the awful pain of the wife and children left behind. I'm glad the killer had been caught and will be subject to the death penalty. I don't know how to convince myself that K is safe at scenes. First, one medic I know was threatened, by a patient he transported, with a knife in the emergency department, now an officer shot.

It is hard because I know a lot of good people in EMS and the fire service, and I know that while the maxim is always personal safety, crew safety, and then everyone else, these people can and will put themselves into less safe situations with the intent to help. I know I can't adequately assess a scene to determine safety for presence of weapons/intent to harm. I'm supposed to rely on the police for that, but (with absolutely no disrespect) obviously that doesn't always work either. I need some time to process and understand, but everything else continues moving at the same pace.

1 comment:

MedicChris said...

Jen, I remember being new, and the first time I went to a department funeral, and saw the buntings, and the bands on the badges. In my case, it was an old life member who passed, not a line of duty death. There is a sense of sorrow that is felt, but also a sense that you are still somehow "outside" because you didn't know him. Trust me, the others there do NOT see you as an outsider. Take part in the things going on, if people there who knew him talk about it, listen to the stories...that is how they are coping. Talk about it yourself as well. I wish I could tell you it won't happen again, but that wouldn't be honest. Be alert on scene, but don't let it paralyze you. Sounds like you are doing all the 'right' things, and thinking all the same things we all have at some time in our past. I'll keep you in my thoughts.