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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:33 PM

Been stewing a bit about this one, and a post by a new member here got me thinking. The other night, had the call for a suicide attempt. Not much more info than that. To make a long story short, instead of the usual 22 year old female who is angry with her boyfriend and planning to end it all by taking 3 Midol, we arrived to this-

18 year old male lying on his bed in a basement bedroom, GSW R Temple, exit wound occipital area. Assumed it was self inflicted and police concurred. Sad that a kid so young can see no other option than taking one in his head. His attempt was successful- DOA and turned over to the police. So- the back story. Lives with aunt, who came home from work to find him dead. Probably for a couple hours by the looks of him. Aunt is obviously upset, but is also enraged because her 2 teenage daughters were home and claimed they heard nothing. She said they were probably on their phones or talking on facebook. Aunt says victim had PMH of depression, had been hospitalized for it a couple times, but not taking medications. I asked if he was noncompliant, and the aunt looked at me strangely. No, apparently his mom- noncustodial but still active in his life - said that her son did not need those medications, that she should leave her son's problems in the Lord's hands. WOW.

Aunt says she thought he was doing OK- had even just taken the ACT test in school that AM. Part 2- the weapon is MIA. Before we and the PD arrived, someone took the gun. Either the aunt, the cousins, or someone else- removed the weapon from the victim. Is this the first time someone I saw someone robbed while they were dead or dying? Hell no.

So like someone who wants to" pray the gay away", now we have someone who thinks they can pray the "grey" away and treat depression with prayer. It's not the suicide that bothered me- seen more than I could ever count- it was the rest. Stealing from a dead kid, not hearing a gunshot in your own house, and thinking God himself is going to treat your son's depression.

It is amazing how so many people do not have a grip on what it's like to live in the real world. No offense to anyone who is ultra religious here, but I simply cannot fathom how/why someone could jeopardize the health and well being of their child for something you have ZERO PROOF OF even existing.
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#2 Kiwiology

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 06:42 PM

I will blunt, wait, that's no different than how I usually am.

I have come so close to hanging myself twice its not even funny (both because of things I've seen or had happen to me as a result of the Ambulance Service)

I am also fairly religious, I don't go to Church (really should start doing that again) but have a strong belief in Jesus ... and having said that I'm 100x the realist some of the people out there are. I haven't exactly had the poster perfect life, infact it's been kinda pretty seriously fucked up.

There's some seriously messed up people out there man ... I'm not saying that being religious is messed up but eh you have to kind of scratch your head sometimes and wonder
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#3 medicgirl05

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:41 PM

My step father hung himself a few years ago. It was the most traumatic experience for my mom...I hated the man from the first time I met him. I knew he had something off. After he did what he did everything made so much more sense. People are sick. He planned killing himself for at least 2 years that we could track. I know that things are bad in your life, but I don't understand how it can get to the point where you don't care what your family and friends would go through. Is it ever really that bad?

I have seen suicides where a terminally ill patient wheels themselves outside with their oxygen tubing trailing and shoots themselves. At least in that scenario you can see a bigger picture... but I can not wrap my head around a young-middle aged healthy person actually ending their life. I just don't understand it.
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#4 chbare

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:50 PM

First, I think this suicide business needs to be put into context:

The human body is a biological organism that is entirely built around survival. In fact, it's only been the past several thousand years where we had creatures on this planet that have been able to really think and ponder concepts that do not directly stem from "survival instinct" if you will. We in health care, who are also scientists in a sense should be keenly aware of just how important survival is. It's built into our nervous systems, we see in in the ability to clot, we recoginse it when we undergo physiological changes at high altitudes, we see it in the physiology of our patients who are experiencing various forms of shock.

With that said, when a person is at a place where they are essentially overiding millions of years of evolution and natural selection based around survival, this should be considered profoundly abnormal. I know many people simply look at suicide as being a sin or a profoundly selfish act. However, a person has to be profoundly disturbed to overcome basic survival programming. Unfortunately, we often do not really appreciate the absolute seriousness of a person who is suicidal. If we can appreciate suicide for what it is, then we can appreciate how desperate and profoundly sick these patients are or were. We clearly appreciate the gravity of the situation when a patient has severe DKA, but often fail to appreciate that with people who are suicidal.

With all of that said, we should also realise that mental illness is not a problem with the "soul." It is a real, tangable and potentially devistating problem that requires aggressive treatment just like the DKA patient mentioned above. Even after initial treatment, this is often something that will not go away. Just like insulin dependant diabetes, we understand that a life long battle will ensue. Also, just like diabetes where even compliant patients can end up with serious exacerbations such as DKA, we can expect people who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts/ideation and the like to also experiences exacerbations in spite of treatment.

Religion is a tricky subject. While I believe it can play a positive role in some cases, we need to put religion in to proper context when considering the physical world. Religion is not a particularly good mechanism for exerting control over the physical world in the sense that things can magically occur as a result of divine intervention. I could be wrong, but have not appreciated evidence to suggest my hypothesis is incorrect. However, religion can play a significant role in people who can use it to help make sense of "life" and esoteric questions that cannot be answered by science. Religion can give us faith, hope and fellowship. These are all potentially important and helpful. Religion is a good way for like minded people to get together and support one and other and hopefully support others who are not as like minded, but that is another topic and another discussion. Clearly, this can become perniscious in some cases, but can be very helpful and supportive for some people.

I see religion as playing a role in helping people in certain situations, but it cannot get in the way of therapy that is based on observation and emperic experience within the physical world. It may sound like I am an atheist; however, many here know that is not the case at all. With that, we cannot let our faith based ideas encroach upon the emperically derived physical world.

My best wishes and thoughts go out to people who struggle with these issues because I gather the struggles can be difficult and are life long.
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Posted 28 October 2011 - 09:37 PM

chbare - Masterfully said. Simply a great post.
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