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Trust paramedic features in new book

Press release 9 November 2010

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) member of staff contributed her experiences to a book which tackles the complexities surrounding death.

Thameside paramedic and currently acting clinical operations manager at Sittingbourne ambulance station, Louise Massen, provided an ambulance clinician’s perspective in In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth the author of Call the Midwife.

The book explores the issues surrounding how we die and looks at the ways in which our perception of death has changed over the years as well as euthanasia, resuscitation of the dying, the artificial prolongation of life and force-feeding.

Louise was approached by the author after she spoke at a national conference on the issue of end of life care.

Louise said: “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to provide an ambulance perspective to this book.  I hope that the people who read this book get a better understanding that while our role is primarily to save lives, we also have a role to play in providing palliative care and supporting relatives through what can be a very distressing and difficult time.”

As outlined at the end of the book in a paramedic’s tale, Louise’s interested in the issue of end of life care followed the difficult time her family went through when her mother died at the age of 60, two years ago.

Her mother had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As she drew closer to the end of her life, Louise and her brother, also a paramedic, discussed the fact that if they had received a call from a patient of a similar age, unconscious and suffering breathing problems; they would have done everything to save their life.

Louise said: “The death of my mother was without a doubt the most life altering event of my life. It was a truly desperate feeling watching my mum dying, aching to swing into action and ‘do my paramedic stuff’, when I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do to prevent her death

“It gave my brother and I a whole new perspective on death and how it affects those it leaves behind.”

As a result of this experience, Louise has championed end of life care issues within the Trust.

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