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Toolkit:  Suicide Risk Assessment and Response to Patient Suicide
Suggested Questions for Your Supervisors
General Questions
  1. Should I talk with my colleagues?

  2. How much should I reveal to them?

  3. Should I worry in my revelations to them or even the experience of losing future referrals, or their perception of me?

  4. How should I begin to address the suicide for myself?

  5. How is this going to affect my treatment with other patients?

  6. Is it best to try not to think about it and pretend it didn’t happen? Or should I engage in an activity that would help me to learn from the experience? Or would that be too painful in reliving it again?

  7. Is it unrealistic to think that this will affect my career?

  8. What is the difference between a clinical case conference and an M&M?  Which will be employed and when?   How should I prepare?


Questions about interacting w/ the family
  1. Should I contact family?

  2. If so what method should I use (phone, letters, even visit?).

  3. What should I say to the family (should I be supportive, explanatory?).

  4. What should I do if they accuse or blame me?

  5. How much should I reveal to them about my thoughts on what went wrong?

  6. What do I do if the family member needs urgent crisis management after I break the news?

  7. How much of what I say and how I say it impacts the chances for litigation?


[Adapted from the Columbia University Medical Center Packet for Resident Whose Patient Committed Suicide]

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