Physicians' labelling of end-of-life practices: a hypothetical case study

Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (1):24-29 (2009)
Abstract
Objectives: To investigate why physicians label end-of-life acts as either ‘euthanasia/ending of life’ or ‘alleviation of symptoms/palliative or terminal sedation’, and to study the association of such labelling with intended reporting of these acts. Methods: Questionnaires were sent to a random, stratified sample of 2100 Dutch physicians (response: 55%). They were asked to label six hypothetical end-of-life cases: three ‘standard’ cases and three cases randomly selected (out of 47), that varied according to (1) type of medication, (2) physician’s intention, (3) type of patient request, (4) patient’s life expectancy and (5) time until death. We identified the extent to which characteristics of cases are associated with physician’s labelling, with multilevel multivariable logistic regression. Results: The characteristics that contributed most to labelling cases as ‘euthanasia/ending of life’ were the administration of muscle relaxants (99% of these cases were labelled as ‘euthanasia/ending of life’) or disproportional morphine (63% of these cases were labelled accordingly). Other important factors were an intention to hasten death (54%) and a life expectancy of several months (46%). Physicians were much more willing to report cases labelled as ‘euthanasia’ (87%) or ‘ending of life’ (56%) than other cases. Conclusions: Similar cases are not uniformly labelled. However, a physicians’ label is strongly associated with their willingness to report their acts. Differences in how physicians label similar acts impede complete societal control. Further education and debate could enhance the level of agreement about what is physician-assisted dying, and thus should be reported, and what not
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,371
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-13

Total downloads

8 ( #172,718 of 1,102,856 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #84,702 of 1,102,856 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.