From 9 April 2015, St Christopher’s End of Life Journal will be published and hosted online by the BMJ

All journal articles will be transferred to the new BMJ journal website and our current journal website will close

Existing journal subscribers will need to sign up to the new BMJ site in order to access journal articles as we are unable to share subscriber details due to data protection. We will email all subscribers on 9 April with a quick link to sign up.

If you have any questions, please email:

Penny Hansford, Editor in Chief, St Christopher’s End of Life Journal

Code of professional conduct

Ethics and the law: the suicide of a terminally ill patient

Suicide is one of the most distressing and difficult situations that healthcare professionals will encounter. It is
a violent act, the impact of which reaches well beyond the actual person who commits suicide. Inevitably it
leaves family members, friends, carers and professionals feeling helpless, inadequate and responsible. However,
failure to prevent a patient committing suicide is rarely a reflection on the competence of the clinician.
Despite the high incidence of depression and sadness in terminally ill people, suicide is extremely rare amongst

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