Ethical and Societal Dilemmas in Modern Medicine

When Suicide is Not Suicide: Self-induced Morbidity and Mortality in the General Hospital

J. Michael Bostwick


Suicidal phenomena in the general hospital can take a variety of forms that can be parsed by taking into account whether or not the patient 1) intended to hasten death, and 2) included collaborators, including family and health care providers, in the decision to act. These two criteria can be used to distinguish entities as diverse as true suicide, non-compliance, euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide, and hospice/palliative care. Characterizing the nature of “suicide” events facilitates appropriate decision-making around management and disposition.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2015;6(2):e0013