First responder Pieter-Henk Verkade: ‘You’re not alone’
First responder Pieter-Henk Verkade reacted to an Stan The CPR Network alert. The victim turned out to be someone close to him. He started resuscitation as quickly as possible, but unfortunately to no avail. “Later that night we heard that the victim has passed away. It gets to you”, he says. Pieter-Henk tells his story.
During a course night at my First Aid association in ‘s Gravenzande I was working at the bar, when Stan The CPR Network sent me an alert. It turned out to be a cardiac arrest at the local sports park. Together with my colleague Aline van de Bos I quickly went to the scene of the incident to resuscitate.
When I arrived, someone was already administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I took over to give that person a chance to catch their breath. A member of the football club performed chest compressions. An AED gave the victim several shocks. When the police and ambulance arrived, officers took over chest compressions. I kept giving mouth-to-mouth until the ambulance staff was ready to take over resuscitation. By that time, more first responders had arrived. You’re not alone in this.
Training and reality
Reality is very different than a resuscitation training. A body feels completely different from a doll. During resuscitation, you’re unaware of time passing. Everything happens so fast. Only when the ambulance had left did I realise what had happened.
All volunteers present were offered victim support. This is a good thing, because resuscitation really gets to you. During the condolences, the family once again thanked me for the help I offered. You can’t get more appreciated than that. The family also asked me to carry the flowers during the funeral. For me, that was a beautiful way to conclude my grieving process.