A photo of an Australian paramedic helping a dying woman fulfill her wish to see the ocean one last time has touched people’s hearts around the world.
The grainy photo of paramedic Graeme Cooper looking out over the Coral Sea doesn’t look like much at first glance. But in just one day it had been shared by tens of thousands of people around the world who were touched by the kind gesture it captures.
In the picture, Cooper stands next to a stretcher on the beach at Hervey Bay, Queensland. On that stretcher, hidden from view, is an elderly patient who he had been taking to palliative care—until she started talking about how she wished she could see the beach again.
The ambulance crew decided to fulfill her wish, taking a diversion to Hervey Bay, where they took the stretcher as close as they dared to the water’s edge.
“Tears were shed and the patient felt very happy,” wrote the Queensland Ambulance Service on their Facebook page. “Sometimes it is not the drugs/training—sometimes all you need is empathy to make a difference!”
The moment was captured by Danielle Kellan, the other member of the crew. After her photo was posted online on Facebook, it rapidly spread, shared over 19,000 times in 36 hours, with over 59,000 ‘likes’.
Cooper said: “She was saying how she moved to Hervey Bay with her husband on the spur of the moment and they’ve been here ever since”, he told ABC.
“She said she loved the esplanade and the beach and we said, ‘well, do you want us to take you down by the esplanade and pop you out of the truck and give you a look at the ocean?’
“She was just ecstatic.”
Kellan told the Telegraph she asked the patient what she was thinking. “And she said: ‘I’m at peace, everything is right’.”
The patient, who has not been named, wanted to feel the salt water on her skin according to Cooper.
“I thought if all these rocks weren’t here I would get down to my jocks [underwear] and take you into the ocean,” he said.
Instead he scooped up some water in her sick bag so she could put her arms in it.
Social media comments heaped praise on the crew and shared similar touching stories.
This is one of those moments in life that totally send every emotion into overdrive ! Words aren’t enough. I hope it gave peace and calm to a the patient in care. She had her guardian angels with her.hervey bay ambulance service xx https://t.co/xL1v4bBiWG
— Rachel (@RachelLaw13) November 24, 2017
— Dawn Young-McDaniel (@justdawn_) November 24, 2017
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