Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Pleasant, polite, gracious... and ardently suicidal. It was a bizarre scene last night in Bed 4, as I made small talk with a middle-aged patient while irrigating lacerations and cleaning off dried blood.

In perfectly normal tones, the patient expressed disappointment that nobody he knew would sell him a gun, described his excitement at procuring a supply of razor blades, and lamented that fact that his slashing of his wrists and neck were not sufficient to end his life. We also discussed sports and the weather.

And while he appreciated that it was our job to patch him up and try to get him help, he sternly and rightly insisted that we had no idea about the depths of his depression, the profound sense of failure he felt, and his absolute conviction that death would be preferable to life.

It's heartbreaking to find a patient who feels they no longer have any options left. The doctors controlled the bleeding and sutured his lacerations, but he obviously needs a lot more help than that.


Ladyk73 said...

It is the ones in which their affect does not match their stated emotional state you need to worry about. They are often closer to the exit and self destruction. Sometimes crisis centers think they are being manipulative. I hope he gets better.

Hira Animfefte (Xera Anymphefte) said...

I hope he went from ER to the psych ward...he needs serious help.