A 25-year-old man, a patient at the national referral hospital’s psychiatric ward strangulated himself in the ward on July 22.

The incident happened around 1:30pm when the patient, who was admitted for substance-induced psychotic disorder, was alone in the room that can accommodate two patients.

The patient’s mother was attending to him. When the incident happened, she had gone out of the room.

According to a hospital official, the nurse on duty first saw him strangled with his belt when she had visited the room to give him medicine. “The other staff were alerted and they did a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on him.”

CPR is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation to manually preserve intact brain function.

“After about 30 minutes of CPR, his pulse was restored and he was immediately taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” the official said.

The patient died the following day at the ICU.

According to sources, the deceased used to work as security personnel with one of the private security services company in Thimphu. He was a poly-substance user and was earlier admitted at the hospital twice.

After suffering a relapse, he discontinued working in Thimphu. He returned to his parents in Gaselo, Wangdue where he got into abusing cannabis.

His mother brought him to the hospital and was admitted in the ward on July 11.

The officials said that he was on a high antipsychotic medication but somehow was not responding to the treatment. “Some patients take time to respond to treatment.”

He experienced hallucination and would often ask the staff at the ward to let him go home, the official said. “He was on the watch, actually.”

When a patient is admitted in the psychiatric ward, an attendant is a must. If a patient attendant needs to go out then they are required to inform the nurse on duty, the official said. The mother was just outside the room talking with the security guard.

The official said that the patient was reviewed daily and when a doctor assessed him of any suicidal ideation or plans, studying about his history, among others he did not show any suicidal ideation. He was instead agitated and difficult to handle.

On July 20, the staff at the ward carried out a safety check during which they assess the patient, check if they have anything risky like a weapon that could pose risk to the patients and others. Nothing was then reported. “We don’t allow kera also.”

Dechen Tshomo