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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2008 Apr-May;25(2):112-20. doi: 10.1177/1049909107310141. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

To die, to sleep: US physicians' religious and other objections to physician-assisted suicide, terminal sedation, and withdrawal of life support.

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1
Pritzker School of Medicine, Universtiy of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. fcurlin@uchicago.edu

Abstract

This study analyzes data from a national survey to estimate the proportion of physicians who currently object to physician-assisted suicide (PAS), terminal sedation (TS), and withdrawal of artificial life support (WLS), and to examine associations between such objections and physician ethnicity, religious characteristics, and experience caring for dying patients. Overall, 69% of the US physicians object to PAS, 18% to TS, and 5% to WLS. Highly religious physicians are more likely than those with low religiosity to object to both PAS (84% vs 55%, P < .001) and TS (25% vs 12%, P < .001). Objection to PAS or TS is also associated with being of Asian ethnicity, of Hindu religious affiliation, and having more experience caring for dying patients. These findings suggest that, with respect to morally contested interventions at the end of life, the medical care patients receive will vary based on their physicians' religious characteristics, ethnicity, and experience caring for dying patients.

PMID:
18198363
PMCID:
PMC2867462
DOI:
10.1177/1049909107310141
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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