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Attitudes toward Euthanasia and Related Issues among Physicians and Patients in a Multi-cultural Society of Malaysia.

Rathor MY, Abdul Rani MF, Shahar MA, Jamalludin AR, Che Abdullah ST, Omar AM, Mohamad Shah AS - J Family Med Prim Care (2014)

Bottom Line: The majority of our physicians and patients did not support active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS), no matter what the circumstances may be P < 0.001.Among patients no significant differences were observed for age, marital status, or underlying health status.A significant percentage of surveyed respondents were against EAS or its legalization.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Due to globalization and changes in the health care delivery system, there has been a gradual change in the attitude of the medical community as well as the lay public toward greater acceptance of euthanasia as an option for terminally ill and dying patients. Physicians in developing countries come across situations where such issues are raised with increasing frequency. As euthanasia has gained world-wide prominence, the objectives of our study therefore were to explore the attitude of physicians and chronically ill patients toward euthanasia and related issues. Concomitantly, we wanted to ascertain the frequency of requests for assistance in active euthanasia.

Materials and methods: Questionnaire based survey among consenting patients and physicians.

Results: The majority of our physicians and patients did not support active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS), no matter what the circumstances may be P < 0.001. Both opposed to its legalization P < 0.001. Just 15% of physicians reported that they were asked by patients for assistance in dying. Both physicians 29.2% and patients 61.5% were in favor of withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining treatment to a patient with no chances of survival. Among patients no significant differences were observed for age, marital status, or underlying health status.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of surveyed respondents were against EAS or its legalization. Patient views were primarily determined by religious beliefs rather than the disease severity. More debates on the matter are crucial in the ever-evolving world of clinical medicine.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Patients response: Do you know about Mercy killing/ euthanasia?
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Figure 1: Patients response: Do you know about Mercy killing/ euthanasia?

Mentions: Of the 250 physicians approached in person, 192 completed and returned the questionnaire, yielding a high response rate of 77%. The response through E-mail was very low, only 3 out of 70 responded despite repeated reminders. The overall response rate was therefore 61%. Out of 812 patients approached, 727 responded giving a response rate of 90%. Characteristics of the patient and physician respondents and variables predicting their attitude toward euthanasia are depicted in Tables 1 and 2 respectively. Among responding patients, 73.7% were married, (46.9%) spoke Malay, (44.6%) had completed secondary education, (32.6%) were non-professional and (43.7%) were unemployed. Majority (95.3%) of patients knew their diagnosis, 70% had a hope of cure while 30% knew their condition was incurable. More than half of patients (54.2%) did not know about euthanasia as depicted in Figure 1. Among responding physicians, 60% were working with the Ministry of Health, 32.8% with the university and 7.2% were from the private sector. Majority of respondents were medical officers and more than half (50.8%) were from the internal medicine specialty. Significant proportions of respondents were trained in Malaysia. Physicians’ and patients’ responses compared on individual items are shown in Table 3. Most of the physicians had managed chronically ill patients, but only 30 (15.4%) physicians reported that they had been asked for assistance in dying. Among respondent physicians, more males opted against euthanasia compared with females (P = 0.029). Majority of physicians working in the Ministry of Health were against euthanasia, than those working in the private sector (P = 0.018). There were no significant differences among physicians as per designation or place of medical education (P value of 0.479 and 0.557, respectively). Physicians were significantly younger compared to patients (median [interquartile range]: 32.0 (27.0-40.0) vs. 53.0 (42.0-62.0) years respectively P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in terms of gender between the two groups (P = 0.785).


Attitudes toward Euthanasia and Related Issues among Physicians and Patients in a Multi-cultural Society of Malaysia.

Rathor MY, Abdul Rani MF, Shahar MA, Jamalludin AR, Che Abdullah ST, Omar AM, Mohamad Shah AS - J Family Med Prim Care (2014)

Patients response: Do you know about Mercy killing/ euthanasia?
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4209678&req=5

Figure 1: Patients response: Do you know about Mercy killing/ euthanasia?
Mentions: Of the 250 physicians approached in person, 192 completed and returned the questionnaire, yielding a high response rate of 77%. The response through E-mail was very low, only 3 out of 70 responded despite repeated reminders. The overall response rate was therefore 61%. Out of 812 patients approached, 727 responded giving a response rate of 90%. Characteristics of the patient and physician respondents and variables predicting their attitude toward euthanasia are depicted in Tables 1 and 2 respectively. Among responding patients, 73.7% were married, (46.9%) spoke Malay, (44.6%) had completed secondary education, (32.6%) were non-professional and (43.7%) were unemployed. Majority (95.3%) of patients knew their diagnosis, 70% had a hope of cure while 30% knew their condition was incurable. More than half of patients (54.2%) did not know about euthanasia as depicted in Figure 1. Among responding physicians, 60% were working with the Ministry of Health, 32.8% with the university and 7.2% were from the private sector. Majority of respondents were medical officers and more than half (50.8%) were from the internal medicine specialty. Significant proportions of respondents were trained in Malaysia. Physicians’ and patients’ responses compared on individual items are shown in Table 3. Most of the physicians had managed chronically ill patients, but only 30 (15.4%) physicians reported that they had been asked for assistance in dying. Among respondent physicians, more males opted against euthanasia compared with females (P = 0.029). Majority of physicians working in the Ministry of Health were against euthanasia, than those working in the private sector (P = 0.018). There were no significant differences among physicians as per designation or place of medical education (P value of 0.479 and 0.557, respectively). Physicians were significantly younger compared to patients (median [interquartile range]: 32.0 (27.0-40.0) vs. 53.0 (42.0-62.0) years respectively P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in terms of gender between the two groups (P = 0.785).

Bottom Line: The majority of our physicians and patients did not support active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS), no matter what the circumstances may be P < 0.001.Among patients no significant differences were observed for age, marital status, or underlying health status.A significant percentage of surveyed respondents were against EAS or its legalization.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Due to globalization and changes in the health care delivery system, there has been a gradual change in the attitude of the medical community as well as the lay public toward greater acceptance of euthanasia as an option for terminally ill and dying patients. Physicians in developing countries come across situations where such issues are raised with increasing frequency. As euthanasia has gained world-wide prominence, the objectives of our study therefore were to explore the attitude of physicians and chronically ill patients toward euthanasia and related issues. Concomitantly, we wanted to ascertain the frequency of requests for assistance in active euthanasia.

Materials and methods: Questionnaire based survey among consenting patients and physicians.

Results: The majority of our physicians and patients did not support active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS), no matter what the circumstances may be P < 0.001. Both opposed to its legalization P < 0.001. Just 15% of physicians reported that they were asked by patients for assistance in dying. Both physicians 29.2% and patients 61.5% were in favor of withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining treatment to a patient with no chances of survival. Among patients no significant differences were observed for age, marital status, or underlying health status.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of surveyed respondents were against EAS or its legalization. Patient views were primarily determined by religious beliefs rather than the disease severity. More debates on the matter are crucial in the ever-evolving world of clinical medicine.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus