Abstract

Attempted suicide represents a personal tragedy for the patient and their loved ones and can be a challenge for acute care physicians. Medical professionals generally view it as their obligation to aggressively treat patients who are critically ill after a suicide attempt, on the presumption that a suicidal patient lacks decision making capacity from severe psychiatric impairment. However, physicians may be confronted by deliberative patient statements, advanced directives or surrogate decision makers who urge the withholding or withdrawal of life sustaining treatments based on the patient’s underlying medical condition or life experience. How acute care providers weigh these expressions of patient wishes versus their own views of beneficence, non–maleficence and professional integrity poses a significant ethical challenge. This article presents a case that exemplifies the medical and ethical tensions that can arise in treating a patient following a suicide attempt and how to approach their resolution.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2157-1740
Print ISSN
2157-1732
Pages
pp. 263-270
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.