Take criminals with a grain of (smelling) salt

Meet Keison Wilkins. He faked a heart attack in court but no one bought it.

Which reminded me of a call for an unconscious subject.

Code 3. At the city jail.


We’re always at the jail for some silliness like cut fingers and stubbed toes that the jail nurse always claims that she can’t handle, in addition to the fools who think getting placed on a psych hold for a couple of days by pretending to be suicidal gets them out of jail.

We enter and are told that an inmate is unresponsive on his cell floor. The cops tell us they think he’s playing possum and trying to trick his way out of jail. Which is totally stupid on his part because being taken to the hospital is just going to prolong his jail stay. Plus no cop is going to let some inmate escape from the hospital. Too much paperwork.

A big, scumbag-looking guy is lying in the middle of his cell floor. He’s still in his street clothes and was supposedly arrested for assault or something like that. For once, the cops actually want to hang on to this guy and avoid the hospital if at all possible because of the felony charges. I was surprised. Usually they send everyone to the ED or the psych hospital, and usually for no good reason.

A series of our “tests” (the details of which will remain undisclosed) quickly satisfy everyone that he’s totally faking it, but he’s doing a good job of appearing unresponsive.

I forget where exactly we got them, but my partner F has a few ammonia smelling salt capsules with him. F is a little cranky and puts a broken capsule in the patient’s nostril. He flinches ever so slightly but otherwise does a really good job of remaining outwardly unresponsive, while his eyes start streaming tears. A lot of tears.

F looks at the sergeant, “You guys good with this?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

We see the some of the cops later. They say the patient got up after we left and sat on the bench, all pissed off that his little episode didn’t work.

3 thoughts on “Take criminals with a grain of (smelling) salt”

  1. I find breaking the ammonia capsule, then placing it inside a large dry syringe like a 30 cc works the best. Pull the plunger out, drop the capsule in, then place the tip of the syringe waaaay up the nare. Give a rapid bolus. They get the full effect of the capsule without risk of aspirating it like they would if you put it in their nose or in an O2 mask and best of all I don’t suffer any of the smell of it as the patient got all of it. Best “pseudoseizure protocol” I’ve ever used. You can also play it off to innocent bystanders like you actually gave something to “stop” the seizure. Enjoy!

  2. I wonder what protocols the RN’s, “medic” deputies and EMT-b’s were following that stated an unconscious patient with chest pains is to be given a physical exam, no leads places, and given a clean bill of health.

    I’d also like to know what medical director signed off on them.


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