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Mariana
03-25-2014, 05:52 AM
Hi everyone!

My MC commits suicide by jumping in front of a moving car. The last minute somebody saves her and calls an ambulance. She's not injured at all, only a few scratches. I'm wondering what will happen in the hospital, I mean, the procedure that will be followed. The doctors probably will know about the attempt and what they have to do about it? Advise her family in order to go to some therapist or the hospital is obligated to call some therapist in order to examine her before they discharge her? Is it possible to keep her there till they are sure of her mental condition or to move her to a psychiatric clinic???

Thank you very much for your answers!

Canotila
03-25-2014, 07:40 AM
What she did was attempt suicide, not commit it.

If it's clear that she's suicidal and didn't accidentally jump in front of the car, she'd be put on suicide watch while in the hospital. If she's physically fine, they'll probably keep her there until she's mentally stable enough to go home. Depending on the hospital, suicide watch may mean that there is an employee with her 24/7 whose sole purpose is to make sure she doesn't do it again.

jclarkdawe
03-25-2014, 07:45 AM
Unless she admits to wanting to commit suicide, it will be next to impossible to prove she was trying to commit suicide. People walk in front of all sorts of moving vehicles all the time by accident.

If she is still suicidal when she gets to the hospital, she'll probably be held on an involuntary commitment. What that means varies a lot from state to state.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

jaus tail
03-25-2014, 09:13 AM
It depends on what you want. If you want the docs to call the psychiatrist ward, (which they should), then you can make the MC have an angry nervous breakdown at the hospital where she goes berserk and attempts to cut her wrist at the hospital or tries to jump off the window. If she creates a scene then the hospital will call the psychiatrist ward.

if you want the hospital to discharge her, then you can make the MC smart enough to pretend the suicide attempt as an accident and that should have her discharged, she'd thank her savior and then politely walk out of the hospital, get in the cab and head towards the railway station where she plans to stand in front of the train.

Subawthor
03-25-2014, 01:19 PM
I work in a hospital. If the doctor deems the patient to be actively suicidal, a social work consult will be called and the patient will be assessed. To avoid lawsuits, and act in the patient's best interests, the patient is often put on an involuntary 72-hour hold (5150) in an inpatient psych facility for further evaluation. Active suicidal thoughts, depression, history of self-harm, or lability of mood all play a part in this. Typically the patient will either be admitted to the medical hospital as a one-to-one with a sitter (and a sedative), or taken by ambulance to a psychiatric center. After jumping in front of a car, I seriously doubt a medical doctor would release the patient home without a psych work-up.
If you have any more questions, feel free to message me. I worked in a psych facility for 5 years as well.

EarlyBird
03-25-2014, 04:12 PM
My brother sent my parents a letter threatening to kill himself. That alone was enough for the police to come to his home and take him to the hospital. He was put in the psych ward for three days for observation and therapy.

I believe the laws regarding this vary by state, but in his state, they take even the threat of suicide seriously.

elindsen
03-25-2014, 04:18 PM
They will do a 5150. It's 72-hour watch. If, say your MC has self-inflcited injuries, they would probably hold her longer. They would never discharge her. The police or usually an ambulance would take her to a pyschatric hospital.

Dandroid
03-25-2014, 07:42 PM
Don't know what the laws in the states are regarding this, but in Ontario I can only transport a person via ambulance if they consent...police can get a form one which sounds to be the equivalent of what your 5150 is...I would have to have police with me to transport.

EMaree
03-25-2014, 08:01 PM
My MC commits suicide by jumping in front of a moving car. The last minute somebody saves her and calls an ambulance. She's not injured at all, only a few scratches.

You've got a bit of a Catch-22 in these bolded parts.

If the car was going slow enough to cause no injuries, then it would be very difficult to prove she was attempting suicide rather than walking out by accident.

If the car was going fast enough to be believable as a suicide attempt, escaping without injury seems extremely unlikely. Sure, it happens in real life, but it raises eyebrows in fiction.

It might be useful to know that the death risk for a car driving at 30mph (normal driving-through-town speed, quite slowish) is significantly lower than driving at 40mph (too fast for a busy town centre, but too slow for a main road). Statistics, depending on your source, are either 80% chance of death at 40mph and 20% at 30mph (TH!NK campaign UK, gruesome awareness campaign advert here, warning contains child death (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeUX6LABCEA)) or 7% at 30mph and 31% at 40mph (road safety minister, UK (http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/1191.html)).

DancingMaenid
03-26-2014, 01:58 AM
In the U.S., what would probably happen is that if the hospital knew/suspected it was a suicide attempt, they would give her a psychiatric evaluation. If she was able to convince them that it was an accident, they'd send her home. They might also discharge her if she could convince them that she's not actively suicidal, that the attempt was a lapse in judgment, and that she'll seek help. But that's a bit iffier. Most likely, if they knew it was a suicide attempt, she would be placed under a 72-hour psychiatric hold. She might spend this time in the psychiatric unit of the hospital, or she might be transferred elsewhere. After 72 hours, three things could happen: 1) the doctors could decide that she's well enough to go home, though they may encourage her to continue outpatient treatment, 2) the doctors encourage her to stay at the hospital for a little bit longer, and she voluntarily stays, or 3) the doctors think she's not ready to be released and petitions to have her involuntarily committed.

Is your character a minor or an adult? If she's a minor, then the hospital would contact her parents/guardians, and they would be consulted about her treatment and instructed to arrange outpatient treatment if necessary. If she's an adult, and she isn't incapacitated, the hospital wouldn't be able to discuss specifics of her condition or treatment with her family without her permission.

Becky Black
03-26-2014, 03:11 PM
Don't know what the laws in the states are regarding this, but in Ontario I can only transport a person via ambulance if they consent...police can get a form one which sounds to be the equivalent of what your 5150 is...I would have to have police with me to transport.

I was wondering about that. I can see someone at the scene thinking they'd better call an ambulance just in case, even if she's not badly hurt. But she could refuse to go in the ambulance. Unless she's totally out of control nobody is going to force her to go anywhere. Couldn't she leave the scene before the ambulance ever arrived? The other people there would be committing a crime if they detained her against her will. Things might get more complicated if there's a police officer on the scene though.

If she wants to be left alone to have another go at killing herself she'd refuse to go to hospital, and try to leave before the ambulance or police showed up.

If she's changed her mind about killing herself now she might still not want to go to hospital and may just want to go away and figure out what she wants to do next.

Or she may want to go to the hospital to ask for help to stop her attempting suicide again. That doesn't mean she'll calmly ask the doctors at the hospital for help, especially if she's distressed. Going there might be unconsciously seeking somewhere safe where there are people who can help.

Dandroid
03-27-2014, 08:47 PM
I was wondering about that. I can see someone at the scene thinking they'd better call an ambulance just in case, even if she's not badly hurt. But she could refuse to go in the ambulance. Unless she's totally out of control nobody is going to force her to go anywhere. Couldn't she leave the scene before the ambulance ever arrived? The other people there would be committing a crime if they detained her against her will. Things might get more complicated if there's a police officer on the scene though.

If she wants to be left alone to have another go at killing herself she'd refuse to go to hospital, and try to leave before the ambulance or police showed up.

If she's changed her mind about killing herself now she might still not want to go to hospital and may just want to go away and figure out what she wants to do next.

Or she may want to go to the hospital to ask for help to stop her attempting suicide again. That doesn't mean she'll calmly ask the doctors at the hospital for help, especially if she's distressed. Going there might be unconsciously seeking somewhere safe where there are people who can help.


Any time we are disptached to these types of call, police is tiered as well...and there have been times when we haven't transported the patient, or the patient has been taken by poice to the hospital.

Mariana
03-29-2014, 06:46 AM
At first, thank you all for your answers.

Let's forget what she thinks and let's try to think how the others see the incident. She's walking aside and when she sees the car coming she tries to jump. A passenger sees her, he assumes that she's attempting suicide so he pulls her over and he saves her. In that moment she faints so the passenger and the driver of the car call an ambulance. Finally, she regains consciousness in the hospital.

So... what happens next?? The doctors have the statement of the passenger that she might wanted to suicide and the statement of the driver that he just saw her suddenly in front of his car and stopped. Then my MC wakes up... would the doctors ask her what happened?? If she says to them that she was walking too close to the road and just faint,.. is it possible for them to believe her? She had never tried anything similar, she doesn't have self-inflcited injuries, she only used to go to a therapist long ago in order to get over her husband's death, and now suffers from insomnia.

jclarkdawe
03-29-2014, 06:59 AM
If it is absolutely clear she was not hit by the car, EMTs would treat the fainting, make sure she's oriented, ask her what was going on, and if she doesn't say anything about suicidal and refuses transport, that's probably what would happen.

If she had any possibility of being hit by the car, we'd treat the fainting as a possible closed-head injury, and she'd be transported to the hospital.

Bottom line is if she commits a suicidal attempt, goes to the hospital and says she got it out of her system and was no longer thinking of suicide, she's probably going to be released as she's not a present threat to herself.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

RhodaD'Ettore
03-29-2014, 07:09 AM
Here's an idea, the only witness who is the driver flips out because he is afraid he will be held liable for any injuries she might have (btw, head, back, neck injuries may not show up for days), so he emphatically states to the police that she was suicidal... he could even lie about it. He is afraid of getting sued, getting surcharges on his license (in NJ it's 5 points on your license and like $1000 extra per year on your insurance--is that worth a lie to get out of it? darn right).

But as someone else said, it depends on the outcome you want. If you want her held, there are 72 hour holds. Here, all you have to do is threaten to shoot someone--- and they will get a search warrant for your house and the county health dept can have the police take you in to the psyche ward for a mandatory period

jclarkdawe
03-29-2014, 07:24 AM
It doesn't matter what the driver says. Unless she consents to go to the hospital, the only way you can force her is if she is a danger to herself. She is only dangerous to herself if she convinces us she's suicidal. Otherwise, the police officer who has to place her in protective custody is potentially guilty of false arrest.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe