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Emergency medicine

Another ‘deliberate self-harm’: attempting suicide by overdose

Gordian Fulde

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Abstract

Emergencies can spring up at any time and in many incarnations. Are you adequately equipped to deal with them? Each month we present a case study in emergency medicine based on real cases and events. Would you have been able to help this patient?

Article Extract

As an experienced GP routinely doing shifts in a busy city emergency department, as well as from personal experiences, you are very aware of the issue of DSH – deliberate self harm. It is mystifying to you that suicide is responsible for 22% of deaths among young people in such a great place to live as Australia. Boys kill themselves some four times as often as girls but girls make up to ten times more suicide attempts than boys.

Today, a drowsy, well-dressed 18-year-old girl is brought in by ambulance – you and the team methodically and in a semi-detached manner begin to assess yet another overdose.

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