A 38 year old carpenter had his hand caught in a machine in February 2014 and suffered amputation of most of his right hand fingers. Three months later he attempted suicide by hanging himself because of intractable pain, saved by the neighbour who heard his barking dog. He walks by our new clinic in late September, he sees our sign and asks his family doctor for a referral sent to us the same day. He was seen within 24 hrs. We are now treating him with combination of appropriate medications for pain and depression, while he is also counselled by our psychiatrist and psychologist. When I saw him recently in follow-up, he had a huge smile: “I trust you doctor and now I know I will get better” he said.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Severe pain can lead to despair and even suicide, and must be managed in a comprehensive physical, mental and emotional approach.