I need to know my feelings are normal and how to help myself as I feel lost, numb and completely overwhelmed.

I’m a carer and on attending a call, gentleman said he wasn’t well, had shooting pains in chest and arm. Phoned 999 straight away. As the gentleman was talking the lady said I’ve got another call coming through and hung up on me and an ambulance would get there when it could.

He suddenly took a turn for the worst and required mine and others help of CPR.
Unfortunately this and the paramedics support didn’t help and he died.

This is my first ever experience despite working in care for the past 14 years.

I have this massive feeling of guilt that I nor others could save him. My anxieties are through the roof.

Thanks for listening

Dear Rachel89,

My husband has been working as a carer for 20 years, and I used to be a nurse, so both of us have been in situations where someone we looked after has died, and this is always hard, but neither of us has had to perform CPR. I do sympathise with you, it must have been so hard for you to find yourself in that situation. From what I read, you did absolutely the right and only thing you could have done, and that was to phone 999 as soon as the person you cared for mentioned the symptoms he was having. It is very unfortunate that the woman on the other end of the phone could not stay on the line for you until the ambulance arrived, but I am sure you did everything she would have told you to do when you started CPR. If you look at statistics, the survival rates of people having CPR outside a hospital are very low, I think it is only 1 in 10. By giving CPR quickly, the chances of survival are doubled or tripled, but there is no guarantee that it will be successful, espcially if the person is elderly and his heart is in a bad condition. I don’t think there is any reason for you to feel guilty, I can understand that you are anxious. After an experience like that, I think you need time to recover from it as it must have been quite traumatic. Have you been able to talk about it with someone? I don’t know if you are working as self-employed, or for a company, but if you work for a company there should be someone who you could talk to. Dont’t hesitate to ask for some days off if you feel that would be helpful.

Hi Rachel89

I just wanted to say that I work for one of the emergency services and have done for nearly 20 years.

The chances of surviving a heart attack outside of a hospital are approximately 10 percent. They reduce as each hour passes.

My own dad died aged 53 of a heart attack at home and I felt so guilty I couldn’t save him until I started with the career I’m in, 5 years after he died.

You did everything you could.


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