My Room Mate tried to commit suicide tonight.

  1. What should I have done, or could have done, before the EMTs were here?

    Room mate took a full 500tab bottle of Ibuprofen. Cops were here, them banging on the door is what woke me up. It took the EMTs about 20min to get here. In the mean time I let the cops know I was a student nurse if there was anything I could do. He asked me if I could get my room mates BP, I got my cuff and steth, then another cop stopped me from getting his BP I honestly don't know why.

    My room mate was AAOx3. So what could I have done, or should have done to help my room mate?
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    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 118; Likes: 69
    Specialty: ICU

    30 Comments

  3. by   Hushdawg
    Depending on how the good Samaritan laws work in your state the cop may have been trying to save you from a massive lawsuit from family.

    Since you are a Student Nurse, the state may not recognize you as someone capable to respond to the emergency situation and therefor responding in such a way puts you at risk for wrongful death suits and all sorts of things.

    As I said, it all depends on the law in your state, but the cop should have still let you do whatever you could and just leave that detail off the official report.
  4. by   April, RN
    Who called 911? Was it your roommate?
  5. by   RN1982
    Sorry to hear about your friend. Hope your friend is ok.
    Last edit by RN1982 on Apr 30, '09
  6. by   BabyLady
    Before anyone says that what the OP did was wrong...she didn't.

    Regardless of how her "Good Samaritan" laws worked in her state.

    The one, consistent, factor in Good Samaritan laws in states that have them or even in states that don't have them...is that you are ONLY required to perform to your HIGHEST level of training.

    The OP would not be required to perform at the level of an RN or an LPN because she is a student...not licensed.

    The OP wasn't asked to start a line, give medications, set a limb, move her, etc.

    The OP did not state that the EMT's were there. Taking vital signs is completely non-invasive and the worst thing that could have possibly happened is that if she, let's say, got the pulse rate or BP too high or too low, the EMT's would probably have "stepped up" getting there faster.

    The EMT would have re-checked the roommates VS upon arrival.

    The priority in that situation is to find out how critical the roommate was and to see if she was alive or dead.

    What are you going to do if she's dead? Just let her sit there pulseless while you wait for the EMT to show up?

    No, you are going to start CPR and last I checked, students as well as police officers have CPR training.

    The cop, over-reacted.

    Where I live, if you wait for EMS to show up if your family member is coding, you can skip the EMS bill and just call the funeral home.

    On average, it takes them 20 minutes to show up because they are volunteer only.
  7. by   iseeyou
    Baby Lady, I agree with you. A student nurse is held accountable to the level of her training at the time. Obviously if you felt qualified to take a blood pressure, being that it is non-invasive, you could have been sued had you not!
    Quick thinking on your part to offer, proud you had your stethoscope and cuff readily available. Says a lot about you that your first instinct was to jump in an help. Sorry that your roommate was so distraught. Is he also a student nurse?
  8. by   RN1982
    Obviously, everyone has a different opinion. If the person was lying there without a pulse, I would perform CPR, otherwise, I'm not touching. THe OP's friend was A/o x 3 not unresponsive. Too many people are lawsuit-happy.
  9. by   nminodob
    When people do desperate things like your roommate tried, it really messes with the heads of the people close to them. It sounds like you are going through "survivor's guilt" even though it seems your roommate is OK, you "survived" what could have been a tragedy - and I know a bit about that from first hand experience. I congratulate you for being there and doing what you thought would be helpful.
  10. by   lsyorke
    Quote from TurnLeftSide
    Obviously, everyone has a different opinion. If the person was lying there without a pulse, I would perform CPR, otherwise, I'm not touching. THe OP's friend was A/o x 3 not unresponsive. Too many people are lawsuit-happy.
    Wow......that's a sad statement on our society.

    Taking a blood pressure can be done by anyone, regardless of medical training.
  11. by   RN1982
    Quote from lsyorke
    Wow......that's a sad statement on our society.

    Taking a blood pressure can be done by anyone, regardless of medical training.

    I respectfully disagree. It's the reason I do not help at accident sites. The minute you identify yourself as a nurse or other medical professional you put yourself at risk of being sued should something happen to the accident victim. I will call 911 but thats it. There was a very long thread regarding this same issue. There was recently a story in the news, a friend sued her friend after a car accident. Apparently the friend felt she was helping her friend by pulling her from the vehicle but it apparently resulted in her friend having more injuries. It happens.
  12. by   considerthelilies
    Try to think about this objectively...I know a difficult task. First off you are a student nurse. You were not in a hospital...better yet an ER setting. You had no access to a gastric lavage kit or charcoal. You had no dialysis machine. He was alert and oriented so he had a blood pressure. The cop was not thinking of your legal standing...they are just controlling and like to take charge of the scene.
    Cut yourself some slack. Your roommate did a horrible thing. Suicide and suicide attempts are selfish acts very often intended to get help. He got that. Now I would pray God he did not blow out his kidneys.

    I am sorry you had to go through this.
  13. by   RN1982
    I hope your friend makes it through whatever he or she is going through. I think most people use suicide attempts as a way to call attention to their problems, like a cry for help. The best thing for you to do is be there as support for your friend. Hopefully, your friend will get the help that is needed.
  14. by   lsyorke
    Quote from TurnLeftSide
    I respectfully disagree. It's the reason I do not help at accident sites. The minute you identify yourself as a nurse or other medical professional you put yourself at risk of being sued should something happen to the accident victim. I will call 911 but thats it. There was a very long thread regarding this same issue. There was recently a story in the news, a friend sued her friend after a car accident. Apparently the friend felt she was helping her friend by pulling her from the vehicle but it apparently resulted in her friend having more injuries. It happens.
    Taking a blood pressure and dragging an accident victim from a car are two different worlds.

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