He was just a young kid, barely 20 years old; an Indonesian, hired to work in a plantation. He was admitted into my ward (P2 in Hospital Kuala Lumpur) on the night that I was on call as a House Officer.
You could hear him a mile away. He was wild, kicking and screaming! Eyes wide like saucer plates, his half naked body gleaming with sweat. And he was panting, muttering some guttural words.
Three security personnel had to hold him with his iv line and drip. In a flash, he managed to escape their clutches and yanked out his iv catheter. Blood flowed freely from the newly exposed wound. He tried to run out the door but it was blocked by the security personnel. We (nurses, my senior specialist and yours truly) encircled him. He looked at us in a wild uncomprehending manner.
Seeing that he had no way of escape, he turned and sucked the free flowing blood into his mouth and spat the scarlet fluid at us! My specialist was bathed in bloody spots and so was a few nurses. I managed to avoid the literal ‘blood bath’.
Thinking back, I must have been insane but at that point, I decided to lunge and tried to pin him down. He struggled violently and snapped the strap of my watch and sunk his teeth into my wrist! Thank God he did not draw blood!
We managed to subdue him with an intramuscular jab of haloperidol. During his 2 weeks stay in the ward, he was no longer violent but displayed strange behaviour. For instance, once he loaded his drip stand, the chair and the cabinet beside his bed, onto his bed and he latched up the metal railings on both sides of his bed. On his bed, he would behave as he was sailing and he was the captain. He would pretend that he was looking into his telescope to see some imaginary lands far off an imaginary horizon.
It turned out that he has been behaving strangely for the past 3-4 weeks prior to his admission. According to his work mates, he would go off alone to a nearby hill and ‘meditate’. He was withdrawn and spoke of visions and hearing voices.
We thoroughly investigated him and found no evidence of infection. The psychiatric team finally took over management after 2 weeks, finally convinced that he had no ‘organic brain disorder’.
Last I heard he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don’t know what became of him.
Wed, 280606 @ 1420