First Responders To Double Murder-Suicide Offered Mental Health Support

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Boston EMS workers who responded to the scene of a double murder-suicide on Christmas day could feel the effects of the call for years, said a Boston Emergency Medical Service workers union head.

About 15 Boston EMS workers were among the first responders to the scene Wednesday. They found 40-year-old Erin Pascal, of West Roxbury, her 4-year-old daughter, Allison, and her 16-month-old son, Andrew, unconscious on the sidewalk outside the Renaissance Park garage. They were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Investigators said it appears Pascal killed her children, and then herself, by falling from the garage.

Within hours of the incident, the EMS workers were offered mental health support, said Michael MacNeil, president of the EMS Division of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and a paramedic at Boston EMS. He spoke to WBUR All Things Considered host Lisa Mullins about the impact of this tragedy on EMS workers.

He said the deaths are particularly upsetting because of the timing and the ages of the victims. MacNeil said his thoughts and prayers are with the family.

"The ripple effect of this is huge," he said. "They’re dealing with this crisis. And our guys will be dealing with this crisis every Christmas moving forward. A lot of families are going to be impacted by it."

Calls involving kids are always more difficult, MacNeil said. Medics' comfort levels are different than with adults, and they may have their own kids at home.

"Kids are tough," he said. "They leave a bigger scar."

On Wednesday, MacNeil said the crews were met with a peer support coordinator before they went back to work.

"We know that the probability of a provider being impacted is much greater when pediatrics are involved," he said. "But they still have a job to do."

This segment aired on December 26, 2019.

Headshot of Lisa Mullins

Lisa Mullins Host, All Things Considered
Lisa Mullins is the voice of WBUR’s All Things Considered. She anchors the program, conducts interviews and reports from the field.



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