Voluntary Active Euthanasia and the Nurse: a comparison of Japanese and Australian nurses

Nursing Ethics 9 (3):313-322 (2002)

Although euthanasia has been a pressing ethical and public issue, empirical data are lacking in Japan. We aimed to explore Japanese nurses’ attitudes to patients’ requests for euthanasia and to estimate the proportion of nurses who have taken active steps to hasten death. A postal survey was conducted between October and December 1999 among all nurse members of the Japanese Association of Palliative Medicine, using a self-administered questionnaire based on the one used in a previous survey with Australian nurses in 1991. The response rate was 68%. A total of 53% of the respondents had been asked by patients to hasten their death, but none had taken active steps to bring about death. Only 23% regarded voluntary active euthanasia as something ethically right and 14% would practice it if it were legal. A comparison with empirical data from the previous Australian study suggests a significantly more conservative attitude among Japanese nurses
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DOI 10.1191/0969733002ne513oa
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