HEC Forum 34 (1):25-39 (2022)

Studies on end-of-life care reveal different practices regarding withholding and/or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments between countries and regions. Available data about physicians’ practices regarding end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is scarce. This study aimed to investigate physicians’ attitudes toward end-of-life care and the reported practice in adult ICUs in Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt. 100 physicians currently working in several ICU settings in Ain Shams University Hospitals were included. A self-administered questionnaire was used for collection of data. Most of the participants agreed to implementation of “do not resuscitate” orders and applying pre-written DNR orders, while only 13% almost always/often order DNR for terminally-ill patients. 52% of the participants agreed to usefulness of limiting life-sustaining therapy in some cases, but they expressed fear of legal consequences. 47% found withholding life-sustaining treatment is more ethical than its withdrawal. 16% almost always/often withheld further active treatment but continued current ones while only 6% almost always/often withdrew active therapy for terminally-ill patients. The absence of legislation and guidelines for end-of-life care in ICUs at Ain Shams University Hospitals was the main influential factor for the dissociation between participants’ attitudes and their practices. Therefore, development of a consensus for end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is mandatory. Also, training of physicians in ICUs on effective communication with patients’ families and surrogates is important for planning of limitation of life-sustaining treatments.
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-020-09423-7
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