Monday, January 18, 2010

Suicide is Not Painless

Of all the terrible cases to make their way into the ED, suicides are among the most tragic to deal with.

Over the weekend I took care of a gentleman who decided to take his own life. Found by EMS in his home, the patient had a shopping bag full of prescription pill bottles, whose contented he had poured into an empty milk gallon. He swallowed nearly all of them.

By the time I started taking care of him, he looked sick.* Eyes half open, he was either shivering from his hypothermia or seizing from his completely FUBAR lab values. Diaphoretic, he had soaked through his gown and sheets. We managed to get him up to the ICU without incident, but he coded and died within half an hour of arrival.

Suicide is terrible. For the patient, for their family and friends, and certainly for those of us in the ER.

*ER sick - aka ready to die.

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