In the Season Two/Episode Eight airing of the FOX television show 911— there was a great scene on how to really provide no medical care.
The setup: A gay couple is getting ready to go on a bike ride. Much time is spent in a musical montage showing their lives together. It’s clear they have had a loving relationship and remain deeply in love. One gentlemen goes to load a bike onto a SUV when, in a series of unfortunate events, he gets pinned by the SUV to the entrance gate— akin to Anton Yelchin’s accident (though they do show in the episode the SUV was placed in neutral).
He is discovered by his partner who then calls 911. Upon arrival, there isn’t much done for his lover. He is essentially declared dead on arrival.
Then, the gentleman who discovered his partner, goes unconscious while a firefighter has his back turned. Literally only a few seconds have expired when the firefighter discovers he’s passed out. They provide one and a half cycles of CPR and kind of shrug their shoulders declaring that he’s died, too.
This is unacceptable management of this patient. It’s essentially a witnessed arrest so they were correct to start CPR immediately, but at the very least, he should have been connected to an AED for rhythm analysis and probable defibrillation. A very common reason for sudden collapse are arrhythmias that will respond to electricity. There’s no reason why this gentleman’s treatment should have been so sparse. It would have increased the drama and the tension of the episode to have this patient get a full resuscitation.
Recently, my husband and I have been binge watching through all five seasons of Breaking Bad. In the last season, a gentleman decided to kill himself using an AED.
AED stands for Automatic External Defibrillator. It is a quick rescue device used mostly by non-medical people for cardiac arrest. It is designed to recognize lethal heart arrhythmias and deliver a shock (electricity) if the patient is in one. The AED will not always fire. In fact, there are really only two arrhythmias it is designed to treat.
The question becomes, can you use an AED to commit suicide? An AED has two large, white patches connected to the device. In the show, the gentleman places one patch on his chest, pulls off the other patch and places the exposed wires in his mouth. After this, he turns on the device and discharges it, thereby killing himself.
This scenario is highly improbable and here’s why:
1. Both patches must be in place for the defibrillator to analyze the patient’s rhythm. If they’re not, the machine will not progress any further.
2. Let’s say the AED would read the rhythm (one patch on the chest and exposed wire in the mouth)— it won’t deliver electricity for a normal rhythm (which this gentleman likely has because he’s alert and conscious.)
3. Let’s say the AED did fire for his normal heart rhythm— would he die? There is a slight chance that he might die, but only if the AED fired during a very sensitive time in the electrical cycle of his heart which has a very low probability.
All in all, I don’t find this method of suicide possible. Sorry, Breaking Bad, though I did love the series.