COMPASSION [Noun] Collins SA
“Compassion is pity and sympathy for someone who is suffering”
Compassion is one of the emotions some people find to be most difficult to express, but as we have seen with the leisure boat incident, it can simply be displayed with a facial expression. It is so important to be able to express compassion to our patients, as they may be going through the worst day of their lives! Yes, we have seen it before, and death and trauma is nothing new for us as we see it all too often, but the people going through it, for them it may be their first time experiencing something of that nature.
We CAN make that extra difference in the lives of those who are grieving or traumatised, simply by making a small gesture.
On Friday the 19th of November, a leisure boat sank on the Witbank dam, claiming 6 lives, and the life of an unborn child.
It is believed that 21 people were on board the leisure boat, celebrating their yearend function. It is unclear as to how the incident occurred, but bystanders believe that the boat experienced mechanical problems and began to sink. People around the dam who had boats rushed to assist those that were in the water, and shortly after that, 15 people had been brought safely to shore, without any injuries. They were checked thoroughly and comforted by paramedics. Sadly, 6 people were missing, and a couple of hours later, there were found to have drowned, including a pregnant woman.
The bystanders went out of their way to assist the survivors, some even entered the water, looking for those who were still missing. They did not even know the victims, but still tirelessly tried to help as many as they could before rescue personnel arrived.
ER24 paramedics from all surrounding areas were dispatched to the incident, and they arrived in full force. They immediately began assessing the survivors, and comforting those who appeared to be in a state of emotional shock. Although the 15 survivors were not physically injured, paramedics stayed with them for hours while rescue divers were trying to locate the bodies of those who were deceased. A photograph was taken by a Sunday Times journalist, showing two female crews from ER24, comforting a lady who is believed to be a relative of one of the deceased.
The absolute empathy and compassion shown on their faces is incredible, and it clearly shows to what extent the nature of our work actually goes.
A big thank you to all of those crews involved in the tragic Witbank incident, keep up the excellent work!
Photo originally published in the Sunday Times, 21 November 2010 - by Katherine Muick-Mere