Thursday, February 02, 2012

a little carrier bag

‘We were given this job – male, unco in an alley – and we thought – yeah! Here we go! Usual stuff. When we got there he was quite nicely dressed in a business suit and good shoes. The only slightly weird thing was the number of jumpers he was wearing, but not your usual NFA, by any stretch. No one with him, no ID, completely unco, GCS three, barely alive. Didn’t smell of alcohol, but there was this unpleasant, undercooked thing about him. And then when I went to put an airway in, his mouth was swollen and crusty yellow. The only thing he had with him was a little carrier bag. So anyway, we ASHICED him in, and the team there said they reckoned he’d drunk sulphuric acid like drain cleaner or something and as it was probably a little while ago there wasn’t much they could do. And then the police said they’d had reports earlier of a man matching his description hanging off the end of the esplanade looking like he was going to jump, and then climbing back down and wandering around in the traffic. So then they showed me the bag – and guess what was in it? ... Rope.’


Anonymous said...

What a sad ending to a life. One is left to wonder what has driven him to do such a thing.

Spence Kennedy said...

It's a truly dreadful thing to do to yourself - an indication of how much he was suffering beforehand, of course.

I wish there were more effective ways of identifying people in that situation. If you could get to them in the run-up to the crisis, you'd have a chance of helping them survive it. And then, if despite all the help around and all the necessary safeguards and caveats they still insisted they wanted to die, at least help them go out painlessly. It's just too brutal like this!

Wordfiend said...

Very compassionate comment, Spence. So sorry you had to deal with that.

(What do NFA, GCS, and ASHIC mean?)

hg said...

I did a call where our guy drank drain cleaner. Wasn't pretty.....

Hannah said...

I'm pro euthanasia, but it gets tricky when you talk about mental health.
Your last comment suggests you think its an option.
Major depression could be the equivalent of something like terminal caner etc...
Interesting moral grey area? Feel free to be evasive =P But you'd have an interesting perspective on it...

jacksofbuxton said...

Never a nice thing to read Spence.Suicide is never painless.Too many people left behind suffering,wondering why,what could they have done to prevent it.

Spence Kennedy said...

WAS - (see how I love acronyms...): NFA = No Fixed Abode; GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale (a way of grading levels of consciousness); ASHICE = what you give Control when you call ahead with a critical job...Age / Sex / History / Injuries / Condition / Est. Time of Arrival

HG - Awful! Another on the long list of appalling things people do to themselves (and others, sometimes..)

Hannah - Me too - Def for people with terminal or unbearable illness, maybe for people with MH probs, although that category is much less clear. Especially as the basis for proceeding with any assisted dying would be that the patient was of sound mind - which kind of precludes anyone with MH probs.

Jacks - A dreadful act, more esp. for the family & friends. It often comes across as a kind of rage - difficult to come to terms with for those left behind.


Sorry for the downbeat read! But the blog is supposed to reflect our everyday experience on the ambulance, and unfortunately, this is one aspect. Thankfully not so common, but occasionally you come across it. :/

Hannah said...

Spence; you have got to be joking!!!
Im morbid as hell, thats on the hush, hush though.
No apologies required!

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks v much H! That's a relief. I think it's okay to have a dark side - at least that's what I tell myself...!

Anonymous said...

Life's been busy and I have only caught up with this blog post. My husband found someone who had committed suicide this week in the course of his job (he has a desk job so its not part of his every day experience at all) so it really struck a chord.

My cousin ended his own life several years ago after many attempts. He had mental health problems and I often think that despite the heartache he caused others that maybe it was the right thing for him.

Like you say its sad we can't know who has the intent beforehand.

Forgive me for staying anonymous.

Spence Kennedy said...

Sorry your husband had such a bad experience, Anon. I hope the scene wasn't too traumatic.

And sorry to hear about your cousin, too. As a little side point, it's certainly not the case that those who talk about it never see it through. In fact I think it's the opposite - if you've tried to kill yourself before you're actually more likely to try again. So the 'cry for help' idea is misleading.

At least your cousin eventually found release from his torment. It's a shame he didn't manage to find some other way of dealing with his problems, and I hope he got plenty of help. It's like you say, it's the family who are left who have to live with the aftermath. I hope they're all doing well.

Don't worry about commenting anonymously. After all - I'm writing under a pseudonym! I'm just glad you took the time to write.

Thanks again. :)