Monday, April 20, 2009

Opening A Can Of Worms

How many times does someone have to attempt to kill himself before they succeed? And how many times are we legally obliged to stop them?

The answer to the first question is: "As many times as it takes, apparently."

The answer to the second is: "All of them."

Some of you may remember the Stork from a few posts back. He'd cut his wrists and then used the bandage from his cut to wrap around his neck in an attempt to strangle himself. I was the lucky fool who found him and had to go in and save him yet again.

Save him... yeah.

We are legally obligated, nay, legally constrained to prevent offenders from killing themselves. And if you read the letter of the policy word for word, we are allowed to use any means necessary including deadly force to prevent offender suicide. We could, theoretically, kill someone to prevent them from killing himself!


According to an inside source (since I'm on vacation and thus outside) the Stork tried to cut his wrists yet again. I don't know any particulars other than it wasn't enough to get sent out to the hospital or the rubber room.

This makes attempt three or four in the last two weeks for him. And probably his twentieth attempt in the last five years I have been dealing with him. He's escalating.

They rate these attempts by a "Suicide Risk" scale of one through three. One being just a threat and three being considered a serious attempt. I don't think he has ever been rated above a two, but he just keeps on doing it.

A cry for attention?

Most likely.

I think one of these times he's going to screw up and do it right. And one of us won't catch it in time and save his skinny butt again.

And that, of course, will be our fault. Because we weren't watching.

I've seen the man on total suicide watch with nothing but a kevlar smock try it. He'll worry a few threads out of the smock seams, then cover himself up with the smock and wrap the threads tight around his throat. After awhile he passes out and we'll see that his face is bright red and he won't respond. So we'll go in and cut the stuff off of him. And take the smock away. And charge him for the damage. Like he's going to pay it.

And in eight hours we have to give him another smock.

Lather, rinse, repeat.......

I won't say what is in my deepest wishes. I'm sure it's implied.

Lather, rinse, repeat.....

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