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EMTconcerned

EMT co-worker keeps attempting suicide

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A co-worker of mine who is a paramedic has attempted suicide 3 times in last 2 months. She was involuntary committed to a behavioral health center for a 3rd time recently. Not certain what management is going to do when she returns to work but should she be removed from the truck until she is deemed mentally fit/stable by a psychiatrist?   She  has not complied with staying on medications and often mixes with alcohol when off duty.  She doesnt keep appointments with psychiatrist. How does EMS typically handle these situations?  Everyone has reached out to try and help her as we genuinely care and love this person but she doesn't think she needs help.  Many employees concerned for  her well being, the patients well being on a call and themselves.  

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This is a minefield.  

You cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped.  

EMS agencies tend to not do so well in helping their own.  They tend to push them off and make the person deal with it on their own. 

If she truly is a danger to patients, you better be sure of that accusation, then you can report her to the STATE and let them work on it, but you need to be sure before making that accusation, an accusation like that if unfounded could ruin a person's career. Tread lightly on this one.  

Again, this is a minefield.  

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As Ruff said, situations like this are a very difficult to manage..unless something has occurred at work that violates a policy or safe operations, there might not be a lot that can be done until an actual event occurs. I can think of a colleague with a mental health disorder, well liked and supported by staff, but with an obvious deterioration which began to effect work. Numerous genunine documented concerns were made by colleagues to management but it wasn't until this person had some time off that management was able to ask for a doctor's approval regarding the ability to return to normal work duties and formally do anything. This is in a service that takes staff well being seriously with good provisions/support services in place.

Just to re-reiterate

2 hours ago, Just Plain Ruff said:

Again, this is a minefield.  

 

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My experience has been that the services I used to work for would just discard the wounded medic and hire a new soon to be wounded medic.  

One situation I dealt with was not suicide related but opioid dependent related based on an on the job injury.  It got so bad that after several of this person's co-workers went to him and he yelled at us to "Mind our own fucking busineness"  we then went to managment after he would sleep all shift and not take care of patients.  Also bad judgement calls and other things.

Management's response was to suspend him, then work to transition him out where he was out of a job.  A shitty way for management to treat someone who was injured on the job and then suffered the long term consequences. 

This happened to a 2nd person at the same place.  The mantra at work was "don't tell em you got hurt, deal with it"

I've dealt with at least one if not two suicidal work colleagues and once that cat is out of the bag, for many services you are persona non grata.  sad to say it but it's easier to let that person go then to deal with them.  

Again, reiterating, tread lightly and get involved but be careful, collateral damage often occurs.  

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A major concern is this person attempting to harm herself again while on shift.  Others say she is covered under the ADA Act which would prohibit her from being terminated.   First attempt was at her home, second attempt was on shift but she told her partner and he immediately told supervision who took her to hospital right away, third attempt she made a post on Facebook about ending her life, called a few friends/co-workers to tell them she couldn't go on any longer.    Once she was found our ambulance service is one who picked her up on side of road, in uniform, intoxicated with an empty pill bottle and 1/2 bottle of vodka.  She was transported to the ER then to a behavioral health clinic where she still is.  Has any other service dealt with this and if so how was it handled?

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Recently, at my former employer (private EMS), we had an EMT who had some sort of mental episode.  We came back from a trip and there were 3 officers in the management office and eventually PD took him to the hospital for a psych eval, and he was discharged the same day. The company owner even stoodby with him at the hospital and brought him back to station so he can clock out and go home, acting like she was concerned. A few days later, he was terminated. Management was quick to say it was not because of a mental health issue. So, they found some trivial issue to terminate him so they wouldnt have to deal with him it sounded like. Like it was said above, private EMS doesnt care. Last I checked he was alright.

Maybe you can get this coworkers confidence and try to figure out whats wrong?

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@EMTconcerned, what was the outcome of the situation? Praying that the medic received help. 

 

If you'd like, please share my own situation. After an abusive/emotionally childhood, a wrecking ball twenties, a shit load of PTSD from the field, my drinking became a HUGE problem to my family and marriage. Not to mention, the cloud of anger I sat in at work. Long story short, I quit drinking and began therapy. Therapy was amazing but uncovered that there were some terrifying skeletons in my closet. I went into a manic episode and was almost successful at killing myself, twice. Once at home after trashing my house and then a second time after escaping the hospital. Needless to say, I was locked away for almost two month. 

My employer was amazing. Helped with FMLA paper work. Gifted my family with grocery gift certificates. Etc. 

They are even wanting me to start a first responder mental health class for our academy. 

But, if I worked at any other service, I know I would have lost my job and potentially ended my career. 

Coming form the patient stand point, your medic needs to address what the real problem is. It's hard. It hurts. It's painful as hell. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. These psych issues are something she will have to manage her entire life. It becomes a life style and your loved one need to educate to help your life style and call you out with you begin "spinning." Spinning is my wife's code word for "check yo self."

Praying she received help and fought those demons. She was hitting a scary rock bottom. 

*******IF ANYONE READING THIS NEEDS TO PRIVATELY TALK TO SOME ONE ABOUT THEIR OWN ISSUES, PLEASE EMAIL ME!!! I AM HERE TO HELP FROM THE PATIENT AND PROVIDER STAND POINT. YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.***********

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