Self-inflicted trauma is some of the worst. These poor people are trying to kill themselves, and I'm trying to prevent them from getting their wish. I've seen self-inflicted gunshot wounds and stab wounds, people who try to slash their wrists or thighs (don't try this - it never works), a drowning, and several jumpers. It's always sad, but this next kid was one of the saddest ones.
The call came in a few days ago as a self-inflicted stab wound . A level 1 trauma, the most severe kind, a patient that has a good chance of dying any second. The preliminary report from the ambulance was a young man who stabbed himself in the abdomen five times. Oh boy.
A few minutes later, in rolls in a 17-year old kid with tears running down his cheeks and his hands cuffed behind him. Uh oh - that's never good. The police accompanying him described it thusly: he got into an "altercation" with another person, and he decided instead of arguing, stabbing the other guy would be a good thing to do. Dumb idea #1. The police were notified, and when they showed up, he ran. Dumb idea #2. When they caught up to him, he decided to just end it all rather than go to jail. Dumb idea #3.
When I actually examined him, he had only managed to nick his skin five times. That was it - no deeper injuries. I sent him for a psychiatric evaluation before he went off to police custody.
I always feel sorry for these people, because obviously something has gone terribly wrong in their lives. But I'm sorry, you're not dying on my watch.