Lab West man helped save an on­line friend’s life

‘I needed to know what ex­actly he’d taken in a case I had to tell any­one’

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - BY DANETTE DOOLEY

A man from Labrador West helped save his on­line friend’s life re­cently.

A friend liv­ing in an­other coun­try. A friend he’d never met in per­son but who he’d been play­ing on­line video games with for more than a decade.

Phil Poirier is from Labrador City. He cur­rently lives in Wabush.

Poirier re­ceived a one sen­tence pri­vate Face­book mes­sage from his friend. The five word sen­tence left him con­cerned for his friend’s men­tal well­ness.

“Don’t be mad at me,” the mes­sage read.

Poirier had just driven from his home in Labrador West to his par­ents’ home in New Brunswick to start his va­ca­tion. It was in the mid­dle of the night when the mes­sage came in.

“I just got in bed from a long day trav­el­ling... It didn’t seem like (his friend) was go­ing to do any­thing for him­self so I tried to do what I could,” Poirier said dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Poirier’s friend told him that he’d taken what­ever pills he could find around his apart­ment.

“He told me he’d taken about 100 pills and all of his an­tide­pres­sion med­i­ca­tion for the month. We ex­changed a few more mes­sages. He told me that he was in bed with his cat. I told him to get to the hospi­tal. He just replied with ‘ prob­a­bly.’”

Poirier sensed get­ting to the hospi­tal wasn’t a con­cern for his friend. He sus­pects the pills may have al­ready taken ef­fect and his friend may not have been to­tally aware of what was hap­pen­ing.

“I even asked him if he’d call 911 for me.”

A former ski pa­troller, with ex­pe­ri­ence in first aid, Poirier knew his friend – who lives in Vir­ginia - wasn’t in a po­si­tion to help him­self.

There­fore, he felt he had to do what­ever he could to get him med­i­cal at­ten­tion as soon as pos­si­ble while keep­ing his friend alert as much as he could by con­tin­u­ing to mes­sage with him.

“I needed to know what ex­actly he’d taken in a case I had to tell any­one. I was just mes­sag­ing him and go­ing through his friends’ list on Face­book for any­one liv­ing in Vir­ginia. I prob­a­bly sent off six or seven mes­sages be­fore I got a re­sponse from some­one.”

Poirier even­tu­ally re­ceived a mes­sage say­ing po­lice had been called and that emer­gency re­spon­ders were on their way to get his friend.

“A lit­tle bit af­ter that I got mes­sages that he was in the hospi­tal and that they were go­ing to pump his stom­ach. That’s where I left it that night.”

Poirier had good rea­son to fall asleep, ex­hausted.

“I’d been trav­el­ling and I’d worked the day be­fore. I got off at five o’clock and pretty much didn’t sleep be­cause I was ex­cited to go on va­ca­tion. I left Lab City at three in the morn­ing and got into New Brunswick al­most 24 hours af­ter that. So, I’d been up al­most 42 hours by the time I went to sleep.”

Af­ter his friend was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal, Poirier re­ceived mes­sages from mem­bers of his friend’s fam­ily as well as his friend’s room­mate.

“His sis­ter mes­saged me and thanked me and I heard from his mom. We (Poirier and his friend’s mother) chat­ted on Face­book for 15 min­utes or so.”

Poirier also heard from his friend who, he said, was still in hospi­tal at the time but was get­ting ready to be re­leased.

“I told him hope­fully he’d get bet­ter and get the helps he needs now. He’s a great guy. I’ve got­ten to know him pretty well over the past 12 years.”

Af­ter his friend’s sui­cide at­tempt, Poirier said, all of those who had been play­ing Xbox video games to­gether went on­line for a group chat to talk about what had hap­pened.

“A lot of them live in the U.S. so some could call him in the hospi­tal and wish him a re­cov­ery.”

Poirier’s home com­mu­nity of Labrador West has been in the news re­cently for its spike in sui­cides.

He lost a high school friend through sui­cide, he said.

And al­though Poirier’s re­cent re­lent­less ef­forts to save his Amer­i­can friend’s life likely did just that – he is hum­ble about what hap­pened.

He didn’t do any­thing spe­cial, he said. Rather did what he hopes any­one would do.

“I can un­der­stand peo­ple might be afraid that the per­son (in trou­ble) might be mad at them (for in­ter­ven­ing). But, it’s like some­one said to me the other day, it’s bet­ter to lose a friend be­cause they’re mad with you then lose a friend when you could have done some­thing about it.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Phil Poirier of Lab West re­cently help save a friend he’s played Xbox with for years from sui­cide

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