Yesterday, I was asked to assist a medic with a delusional patient suffering acute psychosis. Due to the patient’s combativeness they were chemically and physically restrained. As a supervisor I am asked to assist often. I worked within the company several years before being promoted. I have worked with my guys very closely and have a strong bond with them. EMS is truly a family.
After being sedated the patient slept the entire ride. My medic and I got to talking on the hour ride to the hospital. They expressed how anxious they have been lately. While in the back of the rig being on edge waiting for things to go wrong. At home, fearing for their safety. Always waiting for the worst to come. Finding difficulty holding their emotions when transporting the child that had been raped or telling someone their family member was no longer with us.
The bells went off in my head. I am diagnosed with PTSD. I know the constant anxiety and hypervigilance they are feeling. I know how difficult it can be to hold it together sometimes. Then the medic expressed what I, and many others fear. “I don’t want the higher ups to think I can’t do my job. I love my job. I need my job.” The fear of being targeted for suffering.
I walk a fine line. On one hand as a member of this family of ours, I want to listen. I want them to know I understand and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. On the other hand as a supervisor I need to do my job. Thankfully, this person is seeing someone on their own. By our rules I have no obligation to report anything unless they are a danger to themselves, others, or ask for assistance (which I believe is flawed policy). I know technically I am within my agencies rules and regulations. I struggle with my own personal ethics when employees approach me. I know when someone would benefit from getting help, but I also know the betrayal I would feel if I disclosed the same information to someone I trusted and it went elsewhere. I know how much I’ve benefited from therapy. I wish I could set an example and show it’s okay to say you aren’t okay. I’m simply not there yet.
I guess I just wanted to give a supervision perspective on the subject and to let you know that we struggle knowing when our people are struggling. Stay safe brothers and sisters.
– Story written by anonymous