The Ethics of Refusing Lifesaving Treatment Following a Failed Suicide Attempt

Journal of Clinical Ethics 34 (3):273-277 (2023)
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Abstract

Injuries from failed suicide attempts account for a large number of patients cared for in the emergency and trauma setting. While a fundamental underpinning of clinical ethics is that patients have a right to refuse treatment, individuals presenting with life-threating injuries resulting from suicide attempts are almost universally treated in this acute care setting. Here we discuss the limitations on physician ability to determine capacity in this setting and the challenges these pose in carrying out patient wishes.

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