Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-13-2003, 04:34 PM
Rhum Runner Rhum Runner is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,889
Doctors - Attempted Suicide ER Procedures Needed

First, there is no danger of anyone killing themselves here, I simply need some factual information.

If a person is brought into the ER having overdosed on pills in an obvious attempt at suicide, their stomach is pumped and by the next day they are ok, what, if any, follow up should (or does) a hospital ER do? Do they call the cops? Do they do a mental health screening? Is there anything done to try to make sure the person doesn’t do it again, or is the patient simply sent home?

Old 11-13-2003, 05:43 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 22,646
In my experience, suspected atempts at suicide usually merit an investigation in the hospital by either a social worker or mental health worker.

The patient won't be discharged until that happens.
I'm not just a hack writer -- I'm a hack author
Old 11-13-2003, 05:58 PM
Kalashnikov Kalashnikov is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: NH - Live Free Or Die!
Posts: 892
Unfortunately, a close friend of mine recently attempted suicide. He did not go to the hospital until 2 days later, so I don't think they pumped his stomach. But after they did extensive tests to determine that he was ok physically, they transferred him to the hospital's 'behavioral health unit', i.e. mental illness section. They kept him there for several days while he saw a psychiatrist, went to group therapy, etc. The doctors gave him medication (an antidepressant and an antipsychotic, since he was also hearing voices and having nightmares). When he left they gave him a prescription for the meds, and an appointment to see a different psychiatrist at an outpatient clinic.
Old 11-14-2003, 11:43 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 16,115
Do they call the cops?

Depends on the locality. In some places, attempting suicide is a crime and in others, it's not.

[joking] Attempted suicide is a capital offense - the penalty is execution. [/joking]
Old 11-14-2003, 12:12 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,514
Originally posted by gotpasswords
[joking] Attempted suicide is a capital offense - the penalty is execution. [/joking]
Well, you're not far off!
Q. Are suicide and attempted suicide crimes?

A. They used to be. The punishment for suicide was to deprive the family of any inheritance, and imprisonment for attempting self- destruction. But not any longer, anywhere. It is the `assistance in suicide' which remains the crime (excepting Oregon) which ERGO and other groups would like to see decriminalized for the terminally and hopelessly ill, provided that a willing physician carries it out under supervision and with accepted guidelines.
Legislation regarding suicide attempts and suicides has followed the trends that have dominated the attitude to suicide. Religious ideas and beliefs have been the primary guidelines. We have already mentioned the many church synods that passed decisions on suicide. In many countries suicide was branded a crime, as was also attempted suicide . We know for certain that a suicide attempt was branded a crime in Britain from 1745, and this law was still in force as late as 1961. I have personal experience of how this legislation was practised in London. In 1956 I worked as a subordinate doctor in a mental hospital (Runwell Hospital). The law caused major difficulties for the treatment of patients who had attempted suicide. They risked being dragged to court if anyone reported them for their attempted suicide before they were hospitalized. Thus it was a priority task for us subordinate doctors to establish that illness had driven them to their suicide attempts. With the right declaration they would thus be able to avoid a court case. Both a suicide and a suicide attempt would be coroner's cases. The last person to be sentenced for a suicide attempt in Britain was a man named Griffiths, who received two years in jail; a sentence that was handed down in 1960. Griffiths was a prisoner who had attempted to commit suicide in his cell, and his punishment for this offence was two more years in prison!

Attempted suicide continues to be a punishable offence in some countries, primarily in countries that have been under British rule. The International Association for Suicide Prevention has urged the governments of these countries to remove punishment provisions for suicide attempts from their laws.
(Emphasis mine.) Source:


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017