Mum In Heartbreaking Ambulance Australia Episode Has Died In Palliative Care
Sadly Maria, the elderly woman whose emotional move to palliative care was the subject of tonight's episode of Ambulance Australia, has died.
Maria had made the decision to move into palliative care herself.
The Ambulance Australia episode showed the moment paramedics are called to help with her final journey, as her family including daughter Elizabeth, and Maria's husband Vince, says goodbye.
Maria was heard telling her family she didn't want to be "a burden" any longer.
Before they arrived at the palliative care centre, the two assisting paramedics, Andrew Roberts and Jan Burdekin, decided to give Maria a chance to see "somewhere beautiful".
They made a pit-stop at a coastal lookout, where Maria was wheeled out of the ambulance to look at the ocean, as her daughter held her hand beside her.
Sadly, Maria died two days after she entered palliative care. She was surrounded by family.
Speaking to 10 daily, Roberts and Burdekin said they had been told of Maria's passing shortly after they transported her and hoped the much-loved mother had a peaceful death.
Roberts and Burdekin, who are parents to two young daughters, said they both had parents who passed away in palliative care, making this a particularly emotional moment for them.
Burdekin said it was a job she will never forget.
"Some moments you want to forget and you cant and this is one of those memories where it’s a part of me that I'll remember forever," she said.
Asked about their decision to stop at the coastal lookout, Burdekin said she felt they made the right choice, adding that palliative care patients were usually too unwell to not be taken directly to care.
"We wanted to give them that last time where they could be somewhere beautiful and spend some time together," she said.
"I remember she just held my hand and kept saying 'I'm just so grateful,'" Burdekin said.
"And I just remember smiling and going god I'm so grateful I could be here, you are such an amazing woman and you created such an amazing family and life."
Roberts reflected on how emotional it was to enter Maria's home, remembering the sadness on the faces of Elizabeth and Vince.
"In those circumstances, it would be nice to do something for her," he said he felt at the time.
"We got the sense she liked the water and we thought 'bugger it', we're going to head to the beach which was close to the palliative centre."
"I think the daughter in particular really appreciated the opportunity to sit with her mother and hold her hand and look over the water."
In his 16-years as a paramedic, Roberts said it's rare for him to remember a job in its entirety, and said that similarly "a patient doesn't remember necessarily what you did for them, they remember how you treated them."
It's not the first time Roberts has gone out of his way to do something special for a patient in what would be their final days.
He recalled another palliative care transfer, where he said he stopped by a community centre where the man's family and friends had intended to gather for a 'living wake' for their loved one.
Roberts said he remembered that job because he was able to park outside, open the doors to the ambulance and allow the man's family to sit and talk with him and say their final goodbyes.
Roberts and Burdekin both said they looked forward to watching the Ambulance Australia episode featuring Maria's final journey.
"I'm actually really proud of that particular job," Roberts told 10 daily.
"It wasn't something we did for the cameras, the circumstances were just right," he continued.
"We are in such a privileged position to be allowed into peoples lives to share in their deepest and darkest feelings and thoughts."
Ambulance Australia airs on Thursday nights at 7:30pm on Network 10.