Attitudes toward euthanasia and physician assisted suicide: a survey among medical students, oncology clinicians, and palliative care specialists.
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to compare the results of surveys about attitudes toward euthanasia and related issues that was conducted among palliative care specialists, health care professionals of a cancer center, and first- and second-year medical students.
By means of an anonymous questionnaire with different hypothetical scenarios concerning physician assisted suicide (PAS) and related issues, 726 members of the Swiss Association for Palliative Care (SAPC), 148 health care professionals of the Institute of Oncology of Italian speaking Switzerland (IOSI), and 140 medical students of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, were surveyed.
Among palliative care specialists a decreasing number supported PAS, direct active euthanasia (DAE), DAE for psychiatric patients, DAE in incompetent patients, and life terminating acts without explicit request (LAWER). Professionals of the cancer center were more in favor of DAE and PAS than palliative care specialists, but less in favor than medical students.
Significant variations among different professionals exist in attitudes toward euthanasia. The hypothesis that familiarity with the care of severely ill and dying patients is an important underlying factor explaining variance has been confirmed by these surveys.
SourceAvailable from: Marit Karlsson
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ABSTRACT: The current debate about end-of-life decisions in Germany focuses on physician-assisted suicide (PAS). However, there is only limited information available on physicians' attitudes towards euthanasia or PAS, and no data on nurses' attitudes. The aim is to explore attitudes of physicians and nurses with a special interest in palliative care and pain medicine using a case-related questionnaire. An anonymous questionnaire, consisting of eight questions, was distributed to all participants of a palliative care congress and a pain symposium. The questions focused on two scenarios: (1) a patient with an incurable fatal illness, (2) a patient with an incurable but nonfatal illness. The question was: Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) be allowed. In addition, the participants were asked what they wanted for themselves if they were the patient concerned. A total of 317 questionnaires were analyzed; the return rate was 70 %. The general support for euthanasia and PAS was high: 40.5 % supported euthanasia in case of a fatal illness ("definitely…", "probably should be allowed"), 53.5 % supported PAS. The support decreased in case of a nonfatal illness; however, it increased when the participants were asked about their attitudes if they were the patient concerned. Nurses were more open towards euthanasia and PAS. In physicians the rejection of PAS was directly related to a higher level of qualification in the field of palliative care. The fact that nurses had a more positive attitude towards euthanasia and PAS and that all respondents accepted life-ending acts for themselves more than for their patients hints to still existing severe deficits in Germany.
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ABSTRACT: This study reports on German physicians’ views on legalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, comparing this with a similar survey of UK doctors. A questionnaire was handed out to attendants of a palliative care and a pain symposium. Complete answers were obtained from 137 physicians. Similar to the UK study, about 30% of the physicians surveyed support euthanasia in case of terminal illness and more support physician-assisted suicide. In contrast, in both countries, a great majority of physicians oppose medical involvement in hastening death in non-terminal illnesses. The public and parliamentary discussion should face this opposition to assisted suicide by pain and palliative specialists.12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s40122-014-0029-z