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WVNEC Noon Webinar - Attempted Suicide in a Patient with a DNR Order: What Should You Do?



Event Cost:

WVNEC Members: $20.00

Non-Members: $30.00

Course Description:

Ethical issues arise in patient care on a daily basis, and hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and home health care agencies need a mechanism to address them. The mechanism for some is an ethics committee, and for others is one or more staff who have training and/or interest in clinical healthcare ethics. This series will prepare participants to identify, analyze, and contribute to the resolution of ethical conflicts in patient care and educate them in the process of ethical decision-making, the role of ethical principles and patient values, and relevant WV health law. It will provide practical examples of the application of ethical analysis to cases in the hospital, nursing home, and hospice settings and provide references and resources for participants to build a file for future use on clinical healthcare ethics topics.

Our fourth and final webinar in this series will address attempted suicide and DNR orders.

Suicide is an important problem among older adults.  Suicide rates are particularly high among older men with men over the age of 85 having the highest rate of any group in the United States.  Risk factors for suicide in older adults include depression, social isolation, and physical illness with disability and pain. 

Responding to a patient who has attempted suicide who also has a do not resuscitate (DNR) order presents a challenging ethical dilemma.  The medical literature gives reasons both to honor and not honor a DNR order after a suicide attempt.  Although the default position in medicine is to preserve life, it may be appropriate to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts in certain situations with suicidal patients.  Hear our interdisciplinary panel discuss this particularly complex ethical dilemma and identify circumstances when it may be appropriate to honor a DNR order after a suicide attempt. 

Target Audience:

This conference is appropriate for physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, clergy, attorneys, and ethics committee members who serve on institutional ethics committees and wish to expand their knowledge of ethical and legal issues in health care ethics consultation.


At the conclusion of the conference, participants should be able to:

  1. apply ethical principles and the process of ethical decision-making to analyze and resolve ethical conflicts in patient care;
  2. incorporate knowledge of WV healthcare law into the process of ethical decision-making; and
  3. proceed in a systematic way to make recommendations on ethically challenging cases.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the WVU School of Medicine and WV Network of Ethics Committees.

The WVU School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

For each session: The WVU Office of CME designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1  CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For each session: This continuing education activity has been provided by the West Virginia University School of Nursing for 1.2 contact hours. The West Virginia University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing education by the State of West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, Legislative Rule §19CSR11-4 under provider number 50-26086.

This course is sponsored by the Center for Health Ethics and Law, Provider Number 490095, which is a Certified Provider of continuing education credits for social workers. For each session: This program has been awarded up to 1 hour of continuing education credit. Please consult your state licensing board for limits on CE hours for other than “face-to-face” programs.

For each session: This program has been approved for 1.2 MCLE online credits under the West Virginia Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.

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