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RainyDayNinja
06-19-2010, 04:26 AM
If a character suffered massive physical trauma (like, say, getting hit by a bus), how might he commit suicide while laid up in the hospital? Are there any treatments that he would be receiving that he could either stop or overdose on while no one was looking? I'm pretty open on the nature and severity of the injuries, as long as it could reasonably be caused by getting hit by a bus, and allows him to talk. Thanks a bunch!

DeleyanLee
06-19-2010, 04:46 AM
What era and location?

RainyDayNinja
06-19-2010, 04:59 AM
Modern day, big city.

Cyia
06-19-2010, 05:11 AM
Any patient can opt out of treatment so long as they're lucid. They'd try and convince them to take it, but it's possible he could check himself out of the hospital if he's mobile.

Overdosing's harder. Most med carts are locked and never enter the patient rooms. The easiest way to do it would be someone on massive painkillers (oral) who "cheeks" his pills until he saves up enough to take at once. Bonus points if he's got a buddy he can con into bringing him contraband booze to take them with. (Said buddy would, of course, not know the booze was for killing himself.)

The one hitch is that the nurses would monitor his vitals and they can tell if someone's in pain. County hospitals are usually more hectic than private ones, so it might be easier to slip under radar there.

IF he's on oxygen, he could throw the line.

leahzero
06-19-2010, 05:17 AM
If his injuries are that bad, they're probably not administering painkillers orally, but rather intravenously. So tonguing pills probably won't work.

Can he get up from the bed and move around? If so, that makes his suicide much easier to commit. My suggestion would be to have him hang himself from a doorknob or bed post/rail, using a sheet or gown twisted into rope. It's quite common and simple for someone to loop an improvised noose around their neck and merely sit down on the ground. Gravity does the rest of the work.

He would die fairly quickly, as well. Just needs about 10 minutes of not being supervised (not including preparation time.

The problem is, if his trauma is truly that bad, he's probably in the ICU, and under frequent supervision. So you're going to have to figure out a way around that.

Cyia
06-19-2010, 05:25 AM
But if he's being monitored, they'd know as soon as his heart spiked (getting out of bed) and slowed (from choking). Once he tries to kill himself, he's on suicide watch and most likely restrained. Since suicide takes him out of legal "right mind", he can no longer control his treatment.

RainyDayNinja
06-19-2010, 05:52 AM
Hmm... I was thinking something a little faster, like on the order of 10 seconds. If he were on oxygen, is there a way he could blow himself up, or something like that?

Cyia
06-19-2010, 06:05 AM
Hmm... I was thinking something a little faster, like on the order of 10 seconds. If he were on oxygen, is there a way he could blow himself up, or something like that?

No. There's a VERY strict no open flame/smoking policy when Oxygen's in use. Warnings are posted everywhere to make sure no one thinks about sneaking them a smoke.

2Wheels
06-19-2010, 06:22 AM
If the suicide has to be intentional because of mental distress, then I can't help much. If it doesn't, then I recall one real-life incident when a patient had a bad reaction to general anaesthesia, wokeup, leapt out of bed, threw a chair at a nurse, threw another through the window of his room, and followed it out. We were a couple of floors up ...

tirial
06-19-2010, 12:28 PM
How clearly is he thinking, and does he have to succeed or just make the attempt?

sheadakota
06-19-2010, 03:50 PM
If he is hurt that bad (hit by a bus) He would be monitored and most likely immobile- Broken bones at the very least-
as someone else said tonguing pills isn't going to work- even if he is taking meds PO (by mouth) Nurses are very vigilant about the meds their pts take particularly narcotics.
No- he could not blow himself up with O2-
Many years ago in the hospital I work at- on a med-surg floor where the pt's are walky-talkys, one woman had been told of her terminal diagnoses and that night she cranked open the window (no screens) and jumped- she was on the fifth floor and ironically right above the ER-

She survived the fall but died a few weeks later-
the cranks have all been removed from the windows now-

There was another girl who had been admitted to the inpatient mental health unit for suicidal ideations and while on suicide precautions she still managed to hang herself from the shower road with her bed sheet-

So while it is rare- yeah it can happen- but the pt has to be moblile and not monitored and definitely not in intensive care-

debirlfan
06-19-2010, 09:35 PM
What if he simply slashed his throat? Maybe with a piece of glass from a broken glass/vase/mirror, or with a steak knife. If he cut the artery, I would imagine he could bleed out before they could do anything - especially if he waited until he heard a "code" or something called over the loudspeaker which would help distract the nurses.

Tsu Dho Nimh
06-19-2010, 10:06 PM
If he is conscious when he is brought in, he can refuse treatment. Or he can say, "pain killers only". Even if he passes out later, the refusal still stands.

We had a young (early 20s) male Jehovah's Witness refuse transfusions - he was lucid, understood the consequences and signed the paperwork. He died a short time later. The interns were all stressed out, trying to find some legal loophole to make the transfusions possible, but we had to tell them that unconscious doesn't mean incompetent when the paperwork has already been signed.

sheadakota
06-20-2010, 03:41 AM
What if he simply slashed his throat? Maybe with a piece of glass from a broken glass/vase/mirror, or with a steak knife. If he cut the artery, I would imagine he could bleed out before they could do anything - especially if he waited until he heard a "code" or something called over the loudspeaker which would help distract the nurses.
hmm- not likely- plastic utensils,(at least in my hospital) even with a broken glass or vase- it is very difficult to cut someone elses throat let alone your own- wrists- maybe-but remember if he is that coherant he probably has a roomie who would call for help- only single rooms are in critical care or isolation rooms- and even then they would try to put you in with someone who is in the same isolation- killing yourself in a hospital ain't easy-
A code wouldn't distract the nurses uless it was HIS nuirse's other patient and the code was on his floor- seriously unless its your patient- buisness goes on as usual-

debirlfan
06-20-2010, 05:48 AM
Just had a thought. If you give your victim a female friend/visitor who carries something potentially lethal (some pills she is on that he could od on, a weapon, etc) in her purse, he could distract her and raid her purse.

(I recall some years back a friend of mine was in the hospital - he was desperately trying to get his hands on some cigarettes, and sent his wife out of the room on some errand hoping to steal hers out of her purse while she was gone.)

2Wheels
06-20-2010, 09:09 PM
There's the "swallow your own tongue" thing. I seem to recall Harris used it in "Silence of the lambs", and I think it might have been used in "Million dollar baby" too.