Doctors' Beliefs Influence End-of-life

LONDON, Aug. 26 (UPI) — A survey of British doctors indicates their religious beliefs influenced end-of-life decisions of their patients.

The survey, published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics, indicates doctors in Britain who describe themselves as extremely or very non-religious were almost twice as likely as doctors saying they were deeply religious to report making decisions they thought would hasten the end of a very sick patient’s life.

Clive Seale of the London School of Medicine and Dentistry says the survey results also indicate:

– Doctors in hospital specialties were almost 10 times as likely as doctors in palliative care to make decisions likely to hasten the end of a very sick patient’s life.

– Overall, white doctors, comprising the largest ethnic group among the respondents, were least likely to report strong religious beliefs.

– Asian and white doctors were less opposed to assisted dying/euthanasia legislation than doctors from other ethnic groups.

– Specialists in elderly care were somewhat more likely to be Hindu or Muslim, while palliative care doctors were somewhat more likely to say they were white, Christian and religious.

The findings were based on a postal survey of more than 8,500 doctors, of whom 4,000 responded and almost 3,000 also answered questions about the care of their last patient who had died.

No further survey details were provided.

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Categorized | Ethics, Other
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