Ethical questions surrounding withdrawal of life support can be complex. When life support therapies are the result of a suicide attempt, the potential ethical issues take on another dimension. Duties and principles that normally guide clinicians’ actions as caregivers may not apply as easily. We present a case of attempted suicide in which decisions surrounding withdrawal of life support provoked conflict between a patient’s family and the medical team caring for him. We highlight the major unresolved philosophical questions and contradictory normative values about suicide that underlie this conflict. Finally, we show how these considerations were practically applied to this particular case.
Medical Ethics, Critical Care, Life Support Therapies, Suicide