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Palliat Med. 2009 Apr;23(3):205-12. doi: 10.1177/0269216308102041.

Legalisation of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: survey of doctors' attitudes.

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Centre for Health Sciences, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2 Newark Street, London, UK.


This study reports UK doctors' opinions about legalisation of medically assisted dying (euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide), comparing this with the UK general public. A postal survey of 3733 UK medical practitioners was done. The majority of UK doctors are opposed to legalisation, contrasting with the UK general public. Palliative medicine specialists are particularly opposed. A strong religious belief is independently associated with opposition to assisted dying. Frequency of treating patients who die is not independently associated with attitudes. Many doctors supporting legalisation also express reservations and advocate safeguards; many doctors opposing legalisation believe and accept that treatment and nontreatment decisions may shorten life. It is hoped that future debates about legalisation can proceed with this evidence in mind.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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