The demand for medical assistance in dying remains high and controversial with a large knowledge gap to support optimal patient care. The study aimed to explore physicians’ attitudes regarding euthanasia and examine the factors that related to these attitudes. We surveyed 135 physicians working at a tertiary-care hospital in Israel. The questionnaire was comprised of demographic and background information, DNR procedure information, encounters with terminally ill patients, familiarity with the law regarding end-of-life questions, and Attitudes toward Euthanasia. About 61% agreed that a person has the right to decide whether to expedite their own death, 54% agreed that euthanasia should be allowed, while 29% thought that physicians should preserve a patients’ life even when they expressed the wish to die. A negative statistically significant relationship was found between the level of religiosity and attitudes toward euthanasia. The physicians’ attitudes towards euthanasia are quite positive when compared to other countries. The data shows a conflict of values: the sacredness of human life versus the desire to alleviate patients’ suffering. The Coronavirus-19 outbreak reinforces the importance of supporting physicians’ efforts to provide ethical and empathic communication for terminally ill patients. Future studies should aim to improve our understanding and treatment of the specific types of suffering that lead to end-of-life requests.
Dopelt, Keren; Cohen, Dganit; Amar-Krispel, Einat; Davidovitch, Nadav; and Barach, Paul, "Facing death: Attitudes toward physician-assisted end of life among physicians working at a tertiary-care-hospital in israel" (2021). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 124.
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