Posts Tagged suicide
Do you work in the medical field? Have you considered the impact bad news can have on a patient? In this story, a veteran received word from the VA that his cancer had spread to his lungs, and he had only weeks to live. Very sadly, the man committed suicide. But, only a day after the suicide, the hospital called and said the diagnosis was wrong and he was not about to die. The wife has a 2.5 million lawsuit. This is a very real reminder to doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals- please double check such a diagnosis before handing it over to a patient. To those who have cancer and are struggling to have hope- know there is hope and that others love you and care for you. If you are depressed and feeling hopeless and have a desire to commit suicide, please talk to a friend, pastor or professional counselor about your feelings.
Today, just a few miles from my house on Hwy 81 going towards Stuttgart (Germany) there was a bad accident which resulted in two deaths. The traffic was backed up for miles, so I returned home to take the kids to school on the train.
A friend emailed me the news story and according to witnesses, this driver (an 82 year old man and his 75 year old wife) went 14 km (about 7 miles) on the wrong side of the road brushing by five cars. A phone call was made to the police, but the police were too late. The elderly man got on the interstate… crashed into another car; killing himself and a 40 year old man (who was in the back seat).
The reason of WHY this man did this are unknown. One theory, is that he was trying to commit suicide. Wanting to know more this topic, I did some research on the internet. This type of suicide on the highways is most often caused by driving on the wrong side of the road. This is rare, but does happen. It is known to be a suicide when there is a suicide note, verbal threats before hand of wanting to commit suicide, or previous attempts to commit suicide.
It is estimated that there are more suicides by vehicle accident than can be known. These are just recorded as an “accident”. If you are a doctor, nurse, social worker, or chaplain working in a hospital ER it is very important to consider this if you have a patient who was in an accident going the wrong way…..
Take the time to talk to your patient. Communicate empathy and safety, but ask if that patient was trying to hurt him or herself. This can begin a process of the patient receiving professional help. You might just help save a life.
“The highest-level whistle-blower ever to come forward at the Department of Veterans Affairs is leveling accusations of serious ethical lapses, claiming an agency intentionally manipulated and suppressed data which resulted in veterans — particularly suicidal veterans — being denied critical care.”
Having a father who fought in Vietnam and a brother who fought in Afghanistan, I know that there are not only physical, but mental scars that remain from time spent in combat. The VA is supposed to be an organization with the highest ethical standards, whose goal is to support veterans. Apparently, the organization has some serious flaws- even to the point of trying to cover up data which showed veterans were in need of additional medical care. My guess, is that the VA is doing this to cut costs. I hope there is a full investigation and an improvement in services to our valuable veterans; particularly in the area of mental health.
In this article, a young man took a journey overseas to discover more about his grandfather; a man he knew little about because he committed suicide. The grandson was most interested in his grandfather’s experience during WWII as a Holocaust survivor. What the grandson ended up discovering, was more about his grandfather’s life when he was a young man. The story was touching. If only we could go back in time and meet our relatives when they were young men and women. To see their faces, hear them laugh, and discover what gave them joy….
When you consider those whom commit suicide, do you consider those in their 70’s or 80’s? I don’t. When I pause to consider this topic, I think of teenagers who don’t feel accepted by their peers and middle-aged men who are in a mid-life crisis or who have had a radical change in their finances.
Wanting to learn more about this issue, I read an article from USA Today (2007) regarding suicide in older adults. The article gave a few real-life stories of suicide in the elderly and I was surprised how often this occurs. Certainly, there are people from every age group (starting with young children) who commit suicide; but for some reason, suicide among the elderly rarely crosses my mind. Read the rest of this entry »