Sunday, 31 July 2011


Yesterday afternoon I got one of those calls, I took the call as "15yom, not responding, poss suicidal, doesn't speak good english".

Great. Whats worse than potentially walking in on a 18-21 year old trying to kill themselves, but a minor. Who only speaks his home tongue. Who's a long way from home.

Grab keys and first-aid bag and run with a translator/supervisor to his flat. (Top floor, always a top floor)

Get to the flat, knock and knock on his door, the translator is hammering away, no response. "Right" I think, steeling myself against the worst and unlock the door.

First sweep of the room, no one hanging off the door closer (again), there's a suspiciously body-shaped bulge under the sheets, not moving, not obviously breathing. The translator starts talking to him in his native language, no initial response.

Great, I start opening my bag and gloving up, notice 3 packets of pills popped on the desk and an open bottle of water on his desk. Still no response.


Close in on him, he's breathing, regularly and deep now. Right, so that's A and B taken care of, now to check C. Nice strong pulse.

Still no response, but I have a hunch that he might be faking. I give him a quick brush of the eyelashes, oh look! A flinch!

He knows the game is up now, he's been rumbled and starts speaking to me through the translator. He had an argument with his girlfriend who had come over on the trip with him. She's stormed out of the flat, taken his keys and he wanted to "teach her a lesson when she came back".

He emptied 3 boxes of paracetamol tablets into the bin and covered the tablets with a bag, left the popped blisterpacks on the desk and then got into bed to pretend to be dead.

All 48 tablets accounted for, emergency stood down, boy shouted at by his translator/supervisor.

My heart rate dropped an order of magnitude after he confessed to his little scheme.

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