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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