Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (6):311-317 (2005)

Objectives: To clarify how lay people and health professionals judge the acceptability of ending the life of a terminally ill patient.Design: Participants judged this acceptability in a set of 16 scenarios that combined four factors: the identity of the actor , the patient’s statement or not of a desire to have his life ended, the nature of the action as relatively active or passive , and the type of suffering .Participants: 115 lay people and 72 health professionals in Toulouse, France.Main measurements: Mean acceptability ratings for each scenario for each group.Results: Life ending interventions are more acceptable to lay people than to the health professionals. For both, acceptability is highest for intractable physical suffering; is higher when patients end their own lives than when physicians do so; and, when physicians are the actors, is higher when patients have expressed a desire to die than when they have not . In contrast, when patients perform the action, acceptability for the lay people and nurse’s aides does not depend on whether the patient has expressed a desire to die, while for the nurses and physicians unassisted suicide is more acceptable than physician assisted suicide.Conclusions: Lay participants judge the acceptability of life ending actions in largely the same way as do healthcare professionals
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DOI 10.1136/jme.2004.008664
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Withholding Life Prolonging Treatment, and Self Deception.G. M. Sayers - 2002 - Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (6):347-352.

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