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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887

Resumen

SANTANDER, Jaime; BROKERING, Walter; RAMOS, Paulina  y  ARENAS, Ángela. Suicide in hospitalized patients and medical liability. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2015, vol.143, n.4, pp.506-511. ISSN 0034-9887.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872015000400013.

Suicide is a complex phenomenon that has accompanied human beings throughout history. Its strong association with mental disorders led to its medicalization and psychiatrists became the physicians in charge of diagnosing and treating patients at risk of suicide. This article discusses the potential limitations that psychiatrists may face when diagnosing suicide risk and providing optimal care. Evidence of the eventual inevitability of suicide and the tension that may arise between providing optimal treatments on the one hand and preserving the rights of patient's autonomy and dignity on the other is also presented. We propose that although diagnosing and adequately treating patients at risk of suicide would be the psychiatrist's responsibility, the act of suicide itself is personal and non-transferable. Considering the latter as part of the medical team's responsibilities would turn working with patients with mental disorders into a fearless act. Finally, suicide should be considered to be part of the natural history of the evolution of many mental disorders and, thus, should constitute a specific topic when training specialists.

Palabras clave : Principle-based ethics; Psychiatry; Suicide.

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