Why I Wish the 911 Operator Would Just Listen and Not Rush to Offer Solutions

While I understand that practical support is necessary in some situations, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say that the 911 operator I got after cutting the tip of my finger off with a kitchen knife should have just listened to me instead of listing off various solutions for me to follow.


Is it so much to ask for empathetic communication from someone who’s supposed to be helping me in a crisis?


Sometimes people just need to talk about their issues. I, for one, have a really hard time moving on from a problem unless I discuss my emotions about it fully. I thought that someone as skilled and well-trained as an operator for 911 would be receptive to the type of care and validation I needed in that moment, but no – they couldn’t stop rattling off different ways for me to “fix” the problem like putting firm pressure on my finger with a clean cloth, or to layer bandages on it if it keeps bleeding through.


As if I need to hear how bandages work at a time like this!


Maybe I just wanted to talk about my feelings about the situation in order to fully digest what had just happened to me. But I guess not everyone cares about my emotional well-being in super stressful situations — not even my assigned operator when I called the nationwide emergency phone number.



While I understand that some people do want 911 operators to give them ways to fix their situations, I think that you should also be able to press an additional number to get an operator who knows how to deal with people at a deeper, more emotional level. Or like, at least ask if I’m in a place where I’m open to receiving advice?


After all, I’m not just a random statistic who’s bleeding out all over their kitchen floor. I’m a person with thoughts and feelings, too.


However, even when I kept avoiding her questions about how much I’m bleeding and tried to steer the conversation into what memories this was bringing up for me, she still kept telling me how to safely preserve the severed tip of my finger in a way that wouldn’t damage the tissue. Like chill out? Did it ever occur to you I just need to vent?


After going to the hospital and getting lectured (again) about what I’m supposed to do when I cut off the tip of my finger while cutting vegetables, I’ve decided that if I’m ever in this situation again, I’m not going to call 911. I’ll just dial my bestie’s number or tell my therapist that we need to have an emergency session ASAP. Maybe this way I’ll finally get the support I need, even if I end up dying afterwards.