Chapter 4: Pediatric calls

When a child dies

The pain of losing a child is beyond words for many parents. There may be very little you can say that will be comforting. Don’t get caught up in trying to find the perfect thing to say. Simply acknowledge the enormity of what has happened and offer your support.

Offer to help families access their support network quickly.

Conversation Prompts

There are no words to express how sad this is. I am so very sorry for your loss. 

My deepest condolences. Is there anyone I can call for you, anyone who can come and be with you right now?

If there are other children in the home, be sure they have access to other supportive adults. The caring presence of a trusted family member or close friend ensures someone is available should parents be unable to offer support.

Impact on paramedics

Paramedics have indicated these these are the most difficult calls. Debrief with your team when possible. Seek out formal support if you find yourself constantly thinking about, or are troubled by any aspects of the call. 

For additional information, see Module 7, Responding to the stresses of paramedicine.