Are general practitioners prepared to end life on request in a country where euthanasia is legalised?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (5):274-280 (2012)
Background In 2002, Belgium set a legal framework for euthanasia, whereby granting and performing euthanasia is entrusted entirely to physicians, and—as advised by Belgian Medical Deontology—in the context of a trusted patient–physician relationship. Euthanasia is, however, rarely practiced, so the average physician will not attain routine in this matter. Aim To explore how general practitioners in Flanders (Belgium) deal with euthanasia. This was performed via qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with 52 general practitioners (GPs). Results Although GPs can understand a patient's request for euthanasia, their own willingness to perform it is limited, based on their assumption that legal euthanasia equates to an injection that ends life abruptly. Their willingness to perform euthanasia is affected by the demanding nature of a patient's request, by their views on what circumstances render euthanasia legitimate and by their own ability to inject a lethal dose. Several GPs prefer increasing opioid dosages and palliative sedation to a lethal injection, which they consider to fall outside the scope of euthanasia legislation. Conclusions Four attitudes can be identified: (1) willing to perform euthanasia; (2) only willing to perform as a last resort; (3) feeling incapable of performing; (4) refusing on principle. The situation where GPs have to consider the request and—if they grant it—to perform the act may result in arbitrary access to euthanasia for the patient. The possibility of installing transparent referral and support strategies for the GPs should be further examined. Further discussion is needed in the medical profession about the exact content of the euthanasia law
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
P. Louhiala, H. Enkovaara, H. Halila, H. Palve & J. Vanska (2015). Finnish Physicians' Attitudes Towards Active Euthanasia Have Become More Positive Over the Last 10 Years. Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (4):353-355.
Similar books and articles
Peter Singer (2002). Freedom and the Right to Die. Free Inquiry 22.
Jacqueline A. Laing (2012). Not in My Name. New Law Journal 162:81.
John Keown (2002). Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legalisation. Cambridge University Press.
David Shaw (2007). The Body as Unwarranted Life Support: A New Perspective on Euthanasia. Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (9):519-521.
Robert Young (2013). 'Debating the Morality and Legality of Medically Assisted Dying'. Critical Notice of Emily Jackson and John Keown, Debating Euthanasia. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2012. [REVIEW] Criminal Law and Philosophy 7 (1):151-160.
R. Higgs (1983). Case Conference. Cutting the Thread and Pulling the Wool--A Request for Euthanasia in General Practice. Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (1):45-49.
A. C. Rietjens Judith, J. Der Maas Pauvanl, D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen Bregje, J. M. Delden Johannevans & Agnes van der Heide (2009). Two Decades of Research on Euthanasia From the Netherlands. What Have We Learnt and What Questions Remain? Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (3).
Stephan W. Sahm (2000). Palliative Care Versus Euthanasia. The German Position: The German General Medical Council's Principles for Medical Care of the Terminally Ill. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (2):195 – 219.
Raphael Cohen-Almagor (2008). Dignity, Compassion, Care and Safety Valves at the End-of-Life. Israel Law Review 41 (1-2):358-393.
Charles Douglas, Ian Kerridge & Rachel Ankeny (2008). Managing Intentions: The End-of-Life Administration of Analgesics and Sedatives, and the Possibility of Slow Euthanasia. Bioethics 22 (7):388-396.
L. Kater, R. Houtepen, R. Vries & G. Widdershoven (2003). Health Care Ethics and Health Law in the Dutch Discussion on End-of-Life Decisions: A Historical Analysis of the Dynamics and Development of Both Disciplines. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (4):669-684.
Martin Van Hees (2003). Voluntariness, Suffering and Euthanasia. Philosophical Explorations 6 (1):50 – 64.
Raphael Cohen-Almagor (2002). Non-Voluntary and Involuntary Euthanasia in the Netherlands. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):161-179.
Added to index2012-01-11
Total downloads12 ( #287,172 of 1,902,050 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #281,246 of 1,902,050 )
How can I increase my downloads?