by Ryan Burns
A Whitethorn woman cut her own throat with a butcher knife Saturday morning and may have died if not for the quick response of a sheriff's deputy, according to a Sheriff's Office press release.
Deputy Robert Hamilton arrived at a home on the 1200 block of A Rd. at about 9:30 a.m., responding to a call that a woman had barricaded herself in her bedroom with a butcher knife, the release states. When Hamilton arrived he found an intoxicated man seated in a chair who said the woman was "back there," gesturing toward the back of the house, the release states. As Hamilton approached the back of the house, the woman emerged from a bedroom, knife in hand, and took several steps toward the officer before retreating back into the bedroom, according to the release.
The release continues:
Deputy Hamilton ran to the door and heard gurgling noises coming from the bedroom. Believing that the woman had injured herself, Deputy Hamilton kicked the locked door open and entered the bedroom. ... [H]e saw the woman actively cutting her throat, causing deep cuts. Deputy Hamilton attempted to wrestle the knife from the woman but she continued to fight with him while [cutting] her throat.
The cuts were deep enough that they caused blood to spray as the woman coughed and breathed. Although covered in her blood, Deputy Hamilton got the knife from her and attempted to stop the bleeding while waiting for medical personnel to arrive. Deputy Hamilton applied direct pressure to the woman's injuries, at first with his hands and then using nearby towels.
The woman continued to fight with Deputy Hamilton until a second deputy arrived to assist him. Members of the Whitethorn Volunteer Fire Department arrived and continued first aid efforts until the woman was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
That hospital was Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville, according to Sheriff's Office spokesperson Brenda Godsey. The woman was later flown out of the area for surgery and further treatment.
A woman who answered the phone at Jerold Phelps Hospital said that due to patient confidentiality, she could not reveal the woman's condition or say where she was taken. Although exposed to blood, Deputy Hamilton was uninjured, according to the release.
Sheriff Gary Philp commended Hamilton's actions, calling it a "life-saving performance."