Handle with care: the challenges of transporting suicidal patients

JEMS. 2008 Oct;33(10):86-92. doi: 10.1016/S0197-2510(08)70383-8.


In July 2007, a suburban Denver ambulance began a routine "psych transfer" of a 36-year-old woman from a hospital to a psychiatric facility. During transport, the woman leapt from the moving ambulance onto a busy interstate. She later died of her injuries. Similar incidents are by no means uncommon. In September 2007, another psych transfer ended in tragedy after a suicidal patient jumped from a moving ambulance in Lansing, Mich., and was hit and killed by a car. Three other deaths from patients jumping from ambulances (one in 2002 and two more in 2005) in Michigan were reviewed recently in a medical journal as a warning to providers about the possibility of suicidal patients killing themselves during transport. Deaths resulting from intoxicated persons jumping from moving police cars have also been documented.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Humans
  • Safety Management*
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Transportation of Patients*