Can't find anywhere else to ask this..


Forum Ride Along
Hi all..
(I am not an EMT - If this post is not allowed here - kindly delete)

I've searched all over Google to find a place where I can ask some advice on my father passing away recently - as you guys deal with these things every day, I'm hoping somebody might be kind enough to give me their feedback please.

My dad was 86 - but he was as healthy and strong as a 60-year old. Still worked every day as an engineer - one of the best in his industry.

I visited him a week before his passing and he was perfectly healthy - we walked on the beach together and had a BBQ.

Exactly a week later he suddenly passed away due to what I've been told to be an esophageal rupture.

I'm just finding his spouse's version of events somewhat suspicious. She was an RN for about 30 years. And even though according to her he had blood coming out of his mouth and nose from the rupture, she still applied mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

I simply don't follow why you would do that - and various other parts of her story that don't sit well with me - including not seeking any medical help even though he was ill that whole day.

Any insight or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated please.

I'm not accusing anybody of anything - I simply want to understand.

Many thanks,


Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
I'm sorry for your loss.

"Esophageal rupture" can mean several things. A description of large amounts of blood could indicate rupture of swollen veins in the esophagus, called varices. This is usually the result of long-standing chronic health problems that might not be outwardly visible. The blood could also have been from lower in the GI tract or potentially a result of the chest compressions, and technically unrelated to the cardiac arrest. There are lots of possibilities and it's impossible for me to know, so I won't speculate.

As to why a person might perform CPR on someone experiencing such an event - why wouldn't they? Objectively, it is questionable whether CPR is really indicated in a hemorrhagic cardiac arrest (if that is what this was) - especially outside the hospital, and especially in an elderly person. That's kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking, though. I imagine it would be very difficult to watch your spouse die without even trying to help somehow. For someone who spent many years as a RN especially, starting CPR might be almost reflexive.


Forum Ride Along
Thank you Carlos - appreciate you taking the time to reply.
Note that there was no cardiac arrest.
I am told that he was gone in a matter of minutes due to the blood loss from the rupture.

I guess as a non-medical person, I'm simply trying to piece together what actually happened.


Forum Troll
Being “ill for the whole day” doesn’t really mean much. People all the time are “ill for a whole day” and don’t seek out medical attention. There was very recently a passenger on a commercial flight who had esophageal varices that ruptured during the flight which caused blood to come out of their nose and mouth and lead to them dying within a very short time frame.

Anyone who dies goes into cardiac arrest. In your father’s case he went into cardiac arrest due to massive blood loss. The standard treatment for cardiac arrest is CPR.


Forum Deputy Chief
Sorry for your loss, BerievedSon. I think it'll be hard for you to reach closure here. There's so much we don't know about your father and his caregivers, even after reading your comments.

If I were in your situation, I think I'd ask a trusted medical professional for help -- preferably someone who cared for your father. I'd make an appointment and come prepared to summarize my concerns in a few minutes.

Some of your questions would likely have simple answers. Others might need investigation that may not be worthwhile. That would be for you and your medical professional to decide. Try setting a realistic goal of learning more than you know now, but not necessarily everything on your list.

One more thing: You say you're not accusing anyone of anything, but you sound to me like you're thinking those thoughts, and they involve family. Maybe you need to focus on those feelings to start. Should you speak further with your father's spouse? Is there someone else who was close to him who could provide information? Would an autopsy be helpful?

I hope you find some answers.

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
Sorry for your loss, it sounds like it was very difficult and from what your telling us, it must have been a horrifying experience for his spouse to witness and the memory of it will stay with her for the rest of her life. Some compassion for what she went through is in order.

As what sounds like an unattended death, that is outside of a hospital or in the care of a physician, there should be a coroner's report/autopsy record for your dad. Most coroner/medical examiner's offices are pretty good about answering questions to next of kin and in my experience can give compassionate closure to those needing it. I'd give them a try.


Community Leader
I am going to echo the others as well and please accept my condolences for your loss. If the description you provided is anywhere near close to what happened, I can almost guarantee you that it was an extremely horrifying thing to witness. Compassion should be given because of this and for her, it will have been an emotionally devastating event that may have facets of PTSD for her for the rest of her life.

As for the knowledge and information for what you seek, if this death was referred to the local coroner’s office, they’ll likely do an autopsy and determine the likely cause of death. Hopefully the staff will be able to explain their findings in a way that makes sense to you. I don’t know if it will bring the closure you seek, but it will bring you answers. Most of us here on this board are not strangers with death. We do tend to deal with it differently than others do, but we’re also not immune to our own feelings when our own family passes.