Every day patients suffering from terminal illness are admitted to accident and emergency (A&E) departments. If they become acutely unwell while in A&E, they are often subjected to inappropriately aggressive medical treatment and may be resuscitated if they have a cardiac or respiratory arrest. This may occur as a reaction to the distress that family members express. This article discusses the case of a 62-year-old woman who was admitted to and died in A&E following a catastrophic, irreversible, cerebral bleed. The positive and negative aspects of the incident are explored.
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