Monday, November 24, 2008

Attempted to Commit Suicide...Practice Makes Perfect

We were called to the loft apartment of a 33 y/o BF for an attempted suicide. When we got the call, the notes on our computer said that she was shooting up the place with a shotgun, and she's about to shoot herself. It sounded like a TRUE emergency, so we only took a few more bites of our dinners, before we headed out.
They called the right ambulance driver, because if anyone can talk someone out of shooting themselves, I can. My technique...based on the theory that people usually only kill themselves when they are coming OUT of depression...I use my verbal skills to lull them deep enough back into depression that they no longer have the energy or will to kill themselves.
Her girlfriend (the apparent fem in the relationship) called us because she got scared when the patient fired the shotgun in the house and blew a hole in the ceiling. That would explain why she's the fem...only a fem would be scared of a little gun fire in the house. The patient was pretending like she was trying to shoot herself, and she missed.
When we got there, and after the police made sure the scene was safe for a couple of EMS pansies, the patient and her fem girlfriend were sitting in the kitchen arguing about 'you don't love me' and 'why did you call the cops?' The gun was on the bed in the bedroom, and there was, in fact, a big hole in the ceiling. The police took all of her guns away (perks of the job, I guess...we get free band-aids...they get guns), and forced her to go to the county mental health rehabilitation facility. She did not go easily. The police had to kick her ass a little. It turns out, the patient was a federal police officer, so she kind of knew how to resist arrest.
After about an hour of trying to talk her into going to the hospital, and finally forcing her, she was taken to the county mental health hospital by the police. You would think that would be the end of the story, right? I mean, you figure, if somebody is being rehabilitated by the county, they're going to emerge as a well-adjusted, mentally stable person, right? Plus that, the government took away all her would someone without guns hurt themselves or others, right?
Two weeks later, we got a call to the same apartment. This time the computer said that the patient was inside the apartment, she had a gun, and she was waiting for the police to break in so she could fire at them, and they would shoot her dead (police assisted suicide).
When we arrived, there was no shortage of police on hand. They love this stuff. I don't know if their motivation was more to save her from shooting herself or to be the one who got to shoot her. They were all dressed in their semi-SWAT gear. A couple of guys had shotguns and assault rifles.
They asked us to breach the door, and when we did, the door only opened about a foot, being stopped by someone standing behind the door. The cops started yelling, "she's behind the door...she's got a gun...put the gun down, mother fuck#r...come out, god damn#t, put the fucki#g gun down..."
They continued yelling at her for about 10 minutes. All the neighbors were poking their heads out of their down and quickly retreating. We, of course, were hiding out 10-15 feet down the hall, waiting for the gun fight start.
After about 10 minutes, one of the officers got really brave and looked in the crack in the door...then...Blam, blam...the officers brains were sprayed all over the wall, ceiling, and all the other officers...the other officers started firing, she started firing, and when the smoke cleared, 2 of the 12 officers were the only ones was a total bloodbath.
Just kidding, when the officer looked in the crack, he saw a rope and said, "she's got a rope!...why does she have a rope?" Then he got brave again, got closer, and looked again. When he looked in the crack, he saw her looking back at him through the crack. He jumped back, processed what he saw a little, and said, "I think she's hanging by the rope." They looked again and verified that she was in fact hanging by a rope behind the door. We all felt kind of sheepish for engaging in a SWAT standoff with a hanging chick.
We checked to make sure she was dead, which was apparent without even touching her, since her eyes were bug-eyed & all dried out, her face was white (she's a black girl), and there were hardened stalagtites of snot hanging from her nose and mouth. She also had rigormortis. She must have been dead for more than a couple of hours.
It was a tiny bit weird when I got up close and looked at her, in the eyes...allowing myself to wonder, just for a second, if somehow she can still see me looking at her through her dried-up eyes...and thinking it was kind of rude to be staring at someone like that. I also allowed myself to wonder, just for a second, if she could somehow hear the jokes we were telling each other about the situation and...well, about the girl hanging from a rope. (don't count on a bunch of cops and firemen to solemnly respect the dead when nobody else is around...there have been times when we've had to take a second to collect ourselves before walking out a door where the public could see us.)
I left the scene feeling disappointed and confused. I could hardly believe that the government intervention (taking away the guns AND forcing her to go to government mental health rehabilitation) failed to stop a person from hurting herself. I mean, if government can't keep me from hurting myself, who can? I suddenly feel so unsafe, insecure, and scared to be alone with myself. The world is a different place.


Anonymous said...

I've never really come up with a means of dealing with suicidal people in the ER other than hitting them with Haldol. Thanks to you, I think I'll try the anti-antidepressant method.

Anonymous said...

Just because I am a smartass (and a lesbian to boot), it's FEMME not FEM... *snickers*

Walt Trachim said...

Did a call back in June for what is known in the Greater Boston area as a "sudden" - usually means we have to go to make sure the person in question is truly dead. When we arrived we found our guy hanging - he rigged his rope up through a transom (older building with transoms everywhere) and ran the end around the door handle. He also had a chair next to him that he was able to fall against when the rope did its job. He'd been hanging for a while as he was past rigor, his coloring was that darkened blue-gray hue, and he was starting to ripen.

His method of running the rope, for lack of better word, was ingenious. And he was "dead on his feet" - something I had never seen before.....

Anonymous said...

oh goodness, yet another boring hanging story. Yawn.

Walt Trachim said...

I know - it was just that this guy knew what he was doing with the rope.

I was impressed.

MonkeyGirl said...

I seriously love you so much.

Flanders said...

Wow.... Heart-warming, and just in time for the Holidays. And a merry Christmaquanzaka to all. Not only could our gubment not prevent this, they decided this gal was the strong stable type they wanted protecting us. I know the story of the Femme of which you speak. She had a ten-year-old son. Her suicide note didn't even mention him. His room was next to the one with the adult novelty items. I wonder how he turned out. He's probably in the FBI academy now.

Extra points for using stalagtites, (3) femmes and a moseyed in this one. I'm still trying to find a come-back for bundle of branches. Thanks for elucidating....I think.

LCourage said...

Did she leave milk and cookies out for you?

Anonymous said...

You're kind of an asshole, aren't you?

Crusty said...

Anonymous, I hope you're talking to me.

Yes, I kind of am an asshole. The problem is...I know a lot of guys that ride on ambulances, and they are also assholes. ...a slightly different flavor of asshole, but still assholes.

(non-asshole EMT's, save your comments...I know there are a few of you goofballs that love every minute of this EMS wish people would call 911 more have a T-shirt that says "Trauma Junky," because you hope someone will ask you if you're an EMT.)

Asshole is normally what you get when you call 911 for an ambulance. If you don't like that, then call 911 less often. However, I guarantee you're not going to be worried that we're assholes when you have a legitimate life-threatening emergency.

Medic Sierra said...

... When we're not being assholes, we're pretty damn good at saving lives and treating actual emergencies.

I can guarantee that the majority of EMT's and medics were nice, sweet boys and girls before being exposed to what is seen day in and day out. ( and I'm not referring to the actual emergencies)

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