Wednesday, January 2, 2008

ER Closed for Now

As I have whined about for the last couple of days, I have been sick. But that doesn't mean I am not aware of what has been happening in my neighborhood. It just means that it takes a day or two for it to sink in.

Thursday night at about 5pm (EST) our local hospital was shut down. Not because of some national emergency. Not because of and electrical outage or water problem. Not because of a weather emergency.

The hospital behind my house (well, it is actually directly behind the high school, which is 4 blocks behind me) was shut down, closed the Emergency Room, closed the Birthing Center, refused to allow employees or patients or visitors of patients to leave because...

A man was in the parking lot threatening to commit suicide.

He remained there until 5:30 am Friday morning, when he shot himself in the head. He did not manage to kill himself, he was airlifted to another hospital.

There has been a lot of conversation about who he was, why he was there, why they took him to another hospital.

I can't answer the first two, but I suspect I know why they airlifted him to another hospital.

The staff of the hospital was not allowed to leave, they were not relieved when their shifts were over. Some of these people came on at 11 am or noon, expecting to be relieved at 11 pm or 12 am. Some of the staff came on in the early am, expecting to be relieved at 6 pm or later. None of the relief staff were allowed on property. Which also means any visitors that were in the hospital when this man decided his life was not worth anything, were required to stay in the hospital.

We have not been told why this man was in this situation. As a private citizen, I don't think I need to know, but for the employees of this hospital, I think they are owed an explanation. They made tremendous sacrifices that night, they deserve the full story. I hope they receive it.


~Tori said...

you mean to tell me that there wasn't a single exit that could have been utilized that did not interfere with the situation... that's just strange.

I hope they find out too!

Not a Granny said...

tori-There was another exit, actually it is the main entrance on the other side of the building, but they shut the whole place down.

Angel said...

I'm so sorry that this happened. Something similar happened here last year (June 07). A man walked into a doctor's office and pulled out a gun and started screaming about how he was done with everything, and didn't want to live anymore. He mistook it for a psychiatrists office, when in fact it was a pediatrician's office. There were a lot of adults and children in there that day, as well as the staff. He refused to allow anyone to exit the building, not even the children. In the end, he fatally shot himself while in the office without wounding anyone else.

When I hear of incidents like this, or read about them it really saddens me. I know that some people really are desperate, and they are crying out for help with this behavior, but why torture innocent bystanders? Why not call a suicide help line?

There are a lot of questions that come into my mind when I hear of or see something like this, but I know that I will never know what it is like to be that desperate, because I cannot walk in another's shoes.

I agree that it shouldn't be anyone's business why the man was there. I also agree that the people trapped in the hospital when this happened are owed an explanation. dm

Not a Granny said...

angel-it is so hard when someone decides to end their own life to understand the why or where. I am so proud of the staff of this local hospital, they still served their patients, the employees had families, children needing to be picked up from day care, loved ones waiting on them. The staff should be acknowledged and appreciated but there has been absolutely no word on them either.

Heather said...

That is just a totally sad situation all around, for all involved.