Five minutes into my shift we got the call:
"Your patient is a 21 year old male. He was a pedestrian, struck by a car."
But that wasn't the whole story.......
When we arrived at a very busy "Littletown" Regional Hospital, you could see the fatigue on the faces of all the ER personnel. This was early Saturday afternoon..........warm and comfortable...... prelude to an equally comfortable night. A night for beer, barbecue, and socializing.
The "Natives" were restless!
Already tired, the folks in this ER were in for a wild evening!
Our patient turned out to be schizophrenic. He had stepped in front of the car because he didn't want to hear voices anymore.
Banged up, bruised and lacerated, a broken femur was his worst injury.
But it made me think...........
Last fall, Sara Jean and I were driving home after eating dinner at a restaurant in a neighboring town. It was late.........drizzling and uncomfortable. Up ahead, I saw emergency flashers on a car pulled over on the shoulder. I slowed as I approached and noticed someone laying on the ground in front of the car. As we passed, I could also see the right headlight was not illuminated. First responders weren't yet on the scene, but I told Sara Jean, "someone got hit back there."
Three days later we got the full story: Friends of ours had also been out to dine, and while driving home, a young man, dressed in dark colors, had jumped out in front of them. He was dead.
Just an hour before, he had been released from the hospital, where he had been taken after an unsuccessful attempt to kill himself by jumping from a moving train!
It's impossible for most of us to understand the desire to end our lives.
It's harder still for me to understand the thought processes that bring someone to such a point of desperation they are willing to take an action that will give others a lifetime of nightmares!
I'm sure mental illness was a factor in this later event, also.
I hope we eventually are able to better identify and cure it.
Right now, we need to try and better understand it.