Thursday, 29 December 2011


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.

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