Sunday 13 May 2012


Very little makes me sadder than trying to take care of someone who has just tried and failed to commit suicide.  This person has chosen this day to die, and it's my job to make sure that they fail in their endeavor.

This past Thursday I had two attempted suicide patients in a row.  I won't focus on the second patient who tried to commit seppuku (according to his suicide note).  His case was sad, and fortunately his injuries were minor and he was admitted to our psychiatric unit the next day.

No, I'm going to focus on the next idiot.  "OH MY GOD, DOC!  HOW CAN YOU CALL THIS POOR GUY AN IDIOT?"  Oh, just you wait.  I guarantee you'll agree with me by the end.

A 19-year old kid was brought to me from jail having tried to hang himself.  You may be thinking about the character Brooks from The Shawshank Redemption hanging himself with a rope tied to a rafter and  kicking his chair out from under him.  Oh no, no, no, nothing that dramatic or effective.  This genius thought he'd try to kill himself by wrapping a bed sheet over a hook in the wall, sitting on a small trashcan, and leaning backwards to get some kind of tension on the sheet.  Needless to say, it didn't work.  He didn't even pass out.

What, that story isn't good enough?  Would it be any better if he had tried the exact same thing a month ago?  Well, he did.  And it didn't work that time either.

You still aren't satisfied?  Ok, then how about this - when his attempt a month ago failed, he waited a week before trying to drown his jail cell toilet.  I suppose he thought that was a bit, ah, unsavory, so he went back to trying to hang himself.

I expect to see him again soon, and I expect him to fail just as spectacularly.

EDIT: Because of doc_caleb's comment below, I've decided to give a little more to the story to clear this all up.  This guy clearly did not actually want to die.  These were nothing more than excuses to get out of jail for a few hours, and trauma surgeons see this regularly.  I saw the police walking him back to their car shortly after I discharged him, and he was actually smiling as he got in the car.  Have you ever seen any suicidal people smiling as they head back to jail?  No.  And neither have I.  That is why I called him an idiot, not because he supposedly attempted suicide.  Psychology was one of my major interests in university, and I am keenly aware of the difficulties that suicidal people (such as the first patient I mentioned) face.  If I had any suspicion that this guy was really suicidal, I would not have sent him back to jail.  I would have sent him for a psychiatric evaluation.

Is that clear to everyone now?


  1. Oh my gosh. I'm kind of getting the impression that the kid's just crying for attention here. *sigh*

  2. The kid actually reminds me of the show Prison Break where this barely of age kid is put in a cell with a pedophile, rapist, murderer and it basically insinuates that he becomes the guys sex slave. So, he ties a bedsheet to his prison bars and slips the other end around his neck before successfully leaping off the second story balcony to his demise. Pretty heartbreaking if you forget that it's a tv show but remind yourself that things like that actually occur in real life much more often than they should. Either your kid falls into this category, or It's like Kate said and he's faking it. I would find out for sure before I decided to chuckle at his admittedly ill-devised strategy.

  3. Sounds like jail kid also needs some help.

    He may be after attention but if he keeps on like that then one day he is actually going to kill himself, if only by accident. If he's doing this routinely then maybe he needs a psych evaluation too.

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding but I would have thought that two thumbs pushed firmly on the windpipe would have you dead in 4 minutes without worrying about belts or sheets or shoe-laces. I guess that's harder to do than I imagine.

    1. I completely agree, this dude is going to kill himself for real one of these days. I can imagine him getting on a stool to 'hang himself,' falling off, hitting something hard with his facial parts, and die.

  4. What kind of doctor are you? People who attempt suicide have serious psychological issues - they're not "idiots." i seriously doubt you're a doctor since you're clearly so stupid, but I'm currently reporting you for your HIPPA violations anyway. On the off-chance that you actually completed medical school by still don't understand the anguish that mentally disturbed people live their lives in, hopefully your liscence will be taken away, tough guy.

    1. Oh shut up dude. He isn't in violation of anything. Get off this site if you have a problem asshole.

    2. Doc_caleb - Gee, thanks for the education on the psychological issues that people who attempt suicide have. I must have missed that day in medical school.

      You clearly aren't a doctor of any kind, because all of us REAL doctors know what HIPAA (not "HIPPA", as you so ignorantly said) is all about. Unfortunately for you, you've made a few ridiculous statements and assumptions:

      1) HIPAA only applies to Americans
      2) Even if HIPAA did apply to me, I haven't violated anyone or anything. The portion of HIPAA to which you're referring is designed to protect patients and their identities. Have I identified anyone in ANY of my posts? Any birth dates? Any names? Any identifying features like scars or birthmarks or tattoos? Hell, have I even told you what COUNTRY I'm in?
      3) You misspelled "licence" (or "license" if you're American).

      Please feel free to take your venom elsewhere. You and your stupid comments are not welcome here.

    3. I enjoy all of your posts, however, on this particular one I enjoyed your shutdown on caleb more than I did the post. :) Thanks, it really cheered me up :)

    4. I feel the need to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it as well

    5. Oddly enough I was under the impression you are a US resident. At first I thought you'd be British after seeing phrasing that wouldn't be used by Americans, but then as the stories mentioned gang members, various gun-related "altercations", the way the police respond to perps with guns and your mentioning the 49 states, New Hampshire and talk with dollars and not another currency - it really seemed like you were American.

    6. Ellie - I am purposefully masking my location, not only for my own privacy but also for the protection of my patients and their identities. Just remember, there are several English-speaking countries in the world other than the US and Britain, there are lots of doctors all over the world that speak English as a second language, and there are lots of English-speaking expatriates all over the world. Was that vague and cryptic enough for you? :)

    7. I always thought you lived in Mumbai. Or was that deceit on your FML account to throw me off? =P

    8. I always wanted DocBastard to be Canadian! It just seems to suit you!

      Hi from lovely Victoria, BC...I'm a huge fan!

  5. I love it when people assume the only things they read on the vast interwebs are based in America. Because y'know, only Americans write in english everyone else writes in... what? Swahili? I'm so proud of my country some times *sniffle* really warms the heart. /facepalm


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