By Declan Murray & Patrick Devitt

March 28, 2017

See Original Post

It is 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. "My wife is suicidal, Doctor. If you don't

admit her to the hospital, you'll have blood on your hands on Monday..."   

 

If the apparently suicidal patient is not hospitalized it could be a

difficult weekend for the patient, of course, but also for the

understandably worried spouse and even the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist

would be aware that the guidelines for patients with suicidal behaviors

recommend estimating the likelihood of suicide by combining clinical

findings (such as suicidal thoughts and behaviors) with multiple risk

factors to judge the seriousness of the suicide risk. The guidelines go on

to suggest that if the patient does die by suicide that psychiatrists should

contact their attorney. When the risk of suicide is high, it is not

surprising that doctors often take what seems to be the safest option and

arrange for hospital admission.