Are general practitioners prepared to end life on request in a country where euthanasia is legalised?

Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (5):274-280 (2012)
Abstract
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)
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2011-100048
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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,233
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Not in My Name.Jacqueline A. Laing - 2012 - New Law Journal 162:81.
Voluntariness, Suffering and Euthanasia.Martin Van Hees - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (1):50 – 64.
Non-Voluntary and Involuntary Euthanasia in the Netherlands.Raphael Cohen-Almagor - 2002 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):161-179.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-01-11

Total downloads

13 ( #355,522 of 2,172,903 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #324,901 of 2,172,903 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums