Senior doctors' opinions of rational suicide

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (12):723-726 (2011)

Abstract
Context The attitudes of medical professionals towards physician assisted dying have been widely discussed. Less explored is the level of agreement among physicians on the possibility of ‘rational suicide’—a considered suicide act made by a sound mind and a precondition of assisted dying legislation. Objective To assess attitudes towards rational suicide in a representative sample of senior doctors in England and Wales. Methods A postal survey was conducted of 1000 consultants and general practitioners randomly selected from a commercially available database. The main outcome of interest was level of agreement with a statement about rational suicide. Results The corrected participation rate was 50%; 363 questionnaires were analysed. Overall 72% of doctors agreed with the possibility of rational suicide, 17% disagreed, and 11% were neutral. Doctors who identified themselves as being more religious were more likely to disagree. Some doctors who disagreed with legalisation of physician assisted suicide nevertheless agreed with the concept of rational suicide. Conclusions Most senior doctors in England and Wales feel that rational suicide is possible. There was no association with specialty. Strong religious belief was associated with disagreement, although levels of agreement were still high in people reporting the strongest religious belief. Most doctors who were opposed to physician assisted suicide believed that rational suicide was possible, suggesting that some medical opposition is best explained by other factors such as concerns of assessment and protection of vulnerable patients
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2011-100116
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,625
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Decision Making Capacity Should Not Be Decisive in Emergencies.Dieneke Hubbeling - 2014 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (2):229-238.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Concept of Rational Suicide.David J. Mayo - 1986 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (2):143-155.
Suicide is Neither Rational nor Irrational.Christopher Cowley - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (5):495 - 504.
A Kantian Defense of Prudential Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (4):489-515.
Sex, Suicide, and Doctors.Gerald Dworkin - 1999 - Ethics 109 (3):579-585.
Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2000 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-10-14

Total views
36 ( #222,769 of 2,242,312 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #74,419 of 2,242,312 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature