During a September shift in the Victoria dispatch centre, Darren received a call around midnight from a distraught mother who explained her five-year-old son was suddenly struggling to breathe. Experiencing every parent’s worst nightmare, mom felt panicked and helpless as she watched her child gasping for air.
While Darren assessed the situation, checking for symptoms of airway complications from croup, his kind, measured and professional demeanor helped calm the situation. He continued speaking gently with mom while paramedics were on the way. Darren only said goodbye once the boy was in the care of the responding crew.
He didn’t expect to hear again from the mom.
But, after it was all over, she felt compelled to reach out to BCEHS in the hopes of connecting with the person who assisted her that unforgettable night.
“I just wanted to be able to say thank you to the 9-1-1 call taker who helped me through one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Adrianna. “And to say how grateful I was for having his voice on the other end of the phone updating me on the status of the ambulance and making me feel like I wasn't completely alone in the situation. I can't remember his name, but I am hoping someone can get the message to this man.”
It’s rare for call takers to hear back from patients after a call. BCEHS receives more than 1,400 pre-hospital emergency calls a day at our three medical emergency dispatch centres.
Darren was happily surprised to reconnect by phone. “It was pretty cool to hear back from the mom and talk to the little boy. The situation was very emotional. It was a very humbling experience.” He added it was good to know the boy was doing so well.
“It was a touching and wonderful conversation,” said Adrianna after the call. Darren told her it’s sometimes hard not knowing what happens to the people on the other end of the phone and this opportunity offered closure and peace of mind. “My son wanted to say hello too, and yacked his ear off for a bit,” she laughed. “He’s back in kindergarten and likes to tell everyone about how he got to ride in the ambulance!”
The chance to reconnect and share gratitude like this is a powerful reminder of the positive impact and lasting impression compassion, professionalism and respect has on our patients and their families.
We think Adrianna summed it up best: “Thanking him afterwards really meant a lot. I hope that they all know how valued they are, and how much it means to have them with us in those moments.”