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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ending It

I'll warn you now, this post may be a bit graphic. But it represents a part of my job and I post it so that others who may be interested in a job in the fire service or EMS can better understand what they are in for.

At the very beginning of the shift the tones went off. At times like that you hope that all your equipment was left in good shape by the preceding crew.  Especially on calls like this one.

We were responding for a full arrest. PD had received a 911 call stating that a person had hung themselves. The call was in the neighboring district (engine 110 was out on another call) so we had a longer response time than usual.

We pulled up and parked behind a couple of police cars. The officers in our city are great. They have no problem responding to critical medical calls and getting in and helping where they can. One of the officers came out and met us. He informed us that only I, the medic, needed to go in. This told us that I was simply determining death and that there was no need for everyone to go in and disturb a potential crime scene.

Inside I found another officer taking photos for his investigation. On the floor was the body of a man in his late 30's. Rigor mortis had set in and it didn't allow his body to lay completely flat on the floor. Because he was in rigor determination of death was made, 0752 hours.

Looking closer at the face of the man I could see that it was distorted. The officer stopped taking pictures for a second to explain that he had walked in and found the man hanging from the pull up bar in the doorway to his bedroom. He had used a leather belt to do it. The belt had slid up around the cheeks and the face "froze" in that position after death. The bar was to low for the man to hang completely so his legs seemed to be dragging on the floor behind him.

The worst part of this entire call was that the dead man's mother was the one to find him. She walked out in the morning and there he was. We contacted a clergyman from a local church to come and comfort the old lady. We then cleared ourselves from the call in case we were needed for another emergency but stayed with the mom until the clergyman arrived.

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