BackgroundThe Netherlands is one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal under strict conditions. This study investigates whether Dutch newspaper articles use the term ‘euthanasia’ according to the legal definition and determines what arguments for and against euthanasia they contain.MethodsWe did an electronic search of seven Dutch national newspapers between January 2009 and May 2010 and conducted a content analysis.ResultsOf the 284 articles containing the term ‘euthanasia’, 24% referred to practices outside the scope of the law, mostly relating to (...) the forgoing of life-prolonging treatments and assistance in suicide by others than physicians. Of the articles with euthanasia as the main topic, 36% described euthanasia in the context of a terminally ill patient, 24% for older persons, 16% for persons with dementia, and 9% for persons with a psychiatric disorder. The most frequent arguments for euthanasia included the importance of self-determination and the fact that euthanasia contributes to a good death. The most frequent arguments opposing euthanasia were that suffering should instead be alleviated by better care, that providing euthanasia can be disturbing, and that society should protect the vulnerable.ConclusionsOf the newspaper articles, 24% uses the term ‘euthanasia’ for practices that are outside the scope of the euthanasia law. Typically, the more unusual cases are discussed. This might lead to misunderstandings between citizens and physicians. Despite the Dutch legalisation of euthanasia, the debate about its acceptability and boundaries is ongoing and both sides of the debate are clearly represented. (shrink)
Commentators frequently point to the involvement of biomedicine and bio-science in the objectification and commodification of human body parts, and the consequent potential for violation of personal, social and community meanings. Through a study of UK media coverage of controversies associated with the removal of body parts and human materials from children, we argue that an exclusive emphasis on the role of medicine and the bio-sciences in the commodification of human materials ignores the important role played by commercially motivated mass (...) media organizations. Analysis of the language of news reports covering the period of the organ retention controversies in the UK reveals the ways in which the mass media contribute to the commodification of body parts by recruiting them for use in the manufacture of a media scandal. This is achieved through use of horror language, the fetishization of certain body parts, emphasis on the fragmentation of the body, and the use of a variety of rhetorical devices to convey enormity and massive scale. Media participation in the commodification of children's body parts has profound implications for practices and policies in relation to use of body parts, and has significantly influenced the governmental regulation of science and medicine. The role of mass media deserves fuller recognition by theorists of body commodification. (shrink)
Background Policies to use financial incentives to encourage healthy behaviour are controversial. Much of this controversy is played out in the mass media, both reflecting and shaping public opinion. Objective To describe UK mass media coverage of incentive schemes, comparing schemes targeted at different client groups and assessing the relative prominence of the views of different interest groups. Design Thematic content analysis. Subjects National and local news coverage in newspapers, news media targeted at health-care providers and popular websites between January (...) 2005 and February 2010. Setting UK mass media. Results The study included 210 articles. Fifteen separate arguments favourable towards schemes, and 19 unfavourable, were identified. Overall, coverage was more favourable than unfavourable, although most articles reported a mix of views. Arguments about the prevalence and seriousness of the health problems targeted by incentive schemes were uncontested. Moral and ethical objections to such schemes were common, focused in particular on recipients such as drug users or the overweight who were already stereotyped as morally deficient, and these arguments were largely uncontested. Arguments about the effectiveness of schemes and their potential for benefit or harm were areas of greater contestation. Government, public health and other health-care provider interests dominated favourable coverage; oppo- sition came from rival politicians, taxpayersÕ representatives, certain charities and from some journalists themselves. Conclusions Those promoting incentive schemes for people who might be regarded as ÔundeservingÕ should plan a media strategy that anticipates their public reception. (shrink)
Continuous sedation is increasingly used as a way to relieve symptoms at the end of life. Current research indicates that some physicians, nurses, and relatives involved in this practice experience emotional and/or moral distress. This study aims to provide insight into what may influence how professional and/or family carers cope with such distress.
The increase in drop-out rates, especially among older people, in longitudinal studies is a matter for concern if the results are to be valid. The research reported here contains a number of pieces of evidence that might help address the problem. These include a literature review, a survey of some longitudinal studies, secondary analysis of the data from a longitudinal study of civil servants, and new data from focus groups and telephone interviews with participants from this current study. The findings (...) relate to reasons why older people continue to take part in such studies, why they drop out and what might encourage them to continue participating. The main reasons for drop out relate to being older, having cognitive impairment and poor functioning, living alone, being a woman and being less educated. There were also a range of practical reasons including the study being too time-consuming and problems with transport. (shrink)