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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Outcomes in suicidal bridge jumping in the Lower Mainland Stephanian, Dylan


On average, one person attempts suicide by jumping from a bridge in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia once every 14 days, but the population that jumps and their outcomes following a suicide attempt are poorly understood. A multi-agency retrospective chart review was performed using records from the Canadian Coast Guard, Joint Rescue Coordination Center, police departments, and the British Columbia Coroner’s Service to identify incidents. A complete picture of each incident was then built by identifying corresponding BC Ambulance Service and hospital records, and linking all records for each incident. This methodology successfully identified a comprehensive list of incidents, and may be useful in future prehospital and search and rescue medicine research. Records from the ten agencies involved in these incidents were collected and linked to create a dataset describing all known jumps from a bridge >12m in height in the Lower Mainland of BC from January 1, 2006 to February 28, 2017. 1208 incidents were identified, 273 were confirmed jumps, and 197 were jumps into water. The multi-agency linkage portion of the study was highly successful; outcomes were identified for 90.6% of all incidents. The population that jumps from a bridge is similar to those who commit suicide by other means. Those jumping are mostly male (74.9%), and early to mid-life (IQR 28-48 years). Of those who jumped and hit water, 59.9% were promptly recovered, 25.4% were iii transported to hospital and 15.2% survived. Survival is dependent on bridge height, patient age, and time interval between jumping and being recovered from the water. The presence or absence of vital signs, and level of consciousness (measured on the AVPU scale) on recovery appears to prognosticate survival to hospital discharge. This may assist prehospital care providers making treatment decisions for these patients.

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