I received this event account on April 5th, 2005, as part of an Email asking me for more information (asking for answers to some very insightful questions).
This was the FIRST TIME, in more than 12 years, that a deadly restraint event “SURVIVOR” had ever contacted me! (Most often, I’m contacted by “surviving family members” of individuals killed by restraint asphyxia, or the attorneys who represent them.)
I found this account so moving – and so universally-representative of what other NEAR-DEATH victims of forceful-prone-restraint likely endure – that I asked the writer for permission to POST the event account on my website.
Thankfully, the writer agreed to allow me to do so.
SO! Here it is!

Dear Charly,

I am now 43 years old and it has taken me almost 2 years to come to terms with my experience!

I am married with 3 children, aged 12 to 18. I have no previous psychiatric or violent history, and I’m a children's nurse. As part of my own professional development, I undertook a degree in community health studies, which took place over a relatively short period of time – 9 months. To cut a long story short; trying to juggle the academic side of the degree and endless assignments with a very busy home life, proved too much for me.

I was 41 when I was admitted to the local mental health unit and was restrained in the prone position, on two occasions within a month. I can only describe it as; at best – the worst experience of my life … and at worst – I could be dead!

It is only through suffering post traumatic stress, that I began to search the Internet for anything that reflected my experience. Prior to this, I had never heard of restraint asphyxia, and had no previous reason to think that any such thing existed.

Although I was ill at the time, I have a clear recollection of the restraint events that I suffered. I was held face down, with my head held to the side, my arms held behind my back, and my legs bent at the knee and crossed and held down towards my bum.

During the restraint I got to the point where I was having
difficulty breathing. I did try to tell the staff, but no one
appeared to listen. I could not believe what was happening
(bear in mind this was the hospital I worked at). I then got
to the point where I wanted to struggle to help myself, but
I was unable to do so because of the way I was being held.

I truly believed I was about to die. I recall a nurse saying
how I was sweating. (My sister – a GP – believes
this was an hypoxic rather than an anxious sweat. I also
believe that to be true.)

I recovered from my mental illness extremely quickly and
returned to work within 6 months. I am still there now.

“During the restraint
I got to the point where
I was having
difficulty breathing.”

“I did try to tell the staff,
but no one
appeared to listen.”

“I truly believed
I was about to die.”

It took a long time for me to convince my family of what I had been through – they just wanted me to get on with my life and put it all behind me.

It is only since gathering information and gaining knowledge that I am beginning to be able to deal with the trauma. It was a relief (albeit a sad one) when I found that it truly was a physiological condition that had occurred. And, the more I found out, the more I could relate to what has been written about restraint asphyxia in the literature.

I am luckier than others! For many, the situation sadly ends in tragedy.

It is difficult for me, though, as I cannot leave the subject go – mostly because so many are not as lucky as me!! I truly believe I will never be in the same situation again. But, until things change dramatically – unfortunately – young relatively fit (but ill) people will die from restraint in the prone position!

The greatest sadness of the whole thing is – dead people cannot speak – and it is easy to get
lost in finding excuses as to why these deaths occur. Certainly having read your information
and relating it to my personal experience – I cannot understand why it still goes on!

I also cannot see how anyone could possibly put any death under such circumstances down
to being accidental.

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Email Charly at: c-d-miller@neb.rr.com
(Those are hyphens/dashes between the “c” and “d” and “miller”)