I'm trying to work it out, but I can't. It's a common job of ours but I can't see why people do it – I doubt that I ever will.
I'm talking about suicide attempts.
Specifically I'm talking about people who hurt themselves, either cutting at their wrists or taking a handful of pills then pretty much immediately either call an ambulance or call a friend who then calls us.
Take a recent example – a young woman had cut at her wrists, nothing too serious, but it was only a minute after doing it that she called for an ambulance. She then did nothing but cry throughout our assessment, treatment and transport to hospital. If she was still upset, why call an ambulance?
Another example, a young man who took a handful of pills, they'd barely had time to hit his stomach before he picked up the phone to us.
Is suicide a nanosecond of madness that corrects itself as soon as it occurs?
We have our repeat customers in this as well, the young woman who takes what she considers a 'safe' overdose of paracetamol, calls her friends around and then argues with us that she just wants to die and not go to hospital.
I don't often go to people who succeed at suicide, barring the occasional hanging, most people who seriously chose to kill themselves go somewhere where they won't be discovered and then take a huge amount of pills. These tend to be found days later where it is more a job for the police than it is for us.
So I don't understand – is it all just a 'cry for help'? Is parasuicide just a coping method, a way to be the centre of attention or a way to regain the sympathy of friends and family?
When it becomes incredibly sad is when a parasuicide steps over the line from a 'failed' to a successful attempt – I'm mindful of more than a few jobs where people have overdosed on what they thought were 'safe' levels of Paracetamol only to later develop liver failure and die, or the one person that fatally drank Paraquat in a moments anger during a stupid argument.
I'm curious, after the psychiatric services have seen the patient in A&E once the medical treatment is done, are they referred to a long term care team – or is it a case that they are sent back to their GP in order to arrange a referral?
So no, I don't understand it – all I can do is support and transport; perhaps I don't need to understand.
A question – is there anyone out there who works in infection control willing to contact me? I have a question to ask regarding gaffa tape.
Pondering – In the TV adverts for recruiting into the army, why do none of them involve shooting at bad guys? It's all humanitarian work, dancing at nightclubs or playing football.