Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors' religious beliefs strongly influence end-of-life decisions, study finds

Date:
August 26, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Atheist or agnostic doctors are almost twice as willing to take decisions that they think will hasten the end of a very sick patient's life as doctors who are deeply religious, new research suggests.

Atheist or agnostic doctors are almost twice as willing to take decisions that they think will hasten the end of a very sick patient's life as doctors who are deeply religious, suggests research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

And doctors with a strong faith are less likely to discuss this type of treatment with the patient concerned, the research shows.

The findings are based on a postal survey of more than 8500 UK doctors, spanning a wide range of specialties, which was designed to see what influence religious belief -- or lack of it -- had on end of life care.

The specialties included those in which end of life decisions would be particularly likely to arise, such as neurology, elderly care, palliative care, intensive care and hospital specialties, and general practice.

The doctors were asked about the care of their last patient who died, if relevant -- including whether they had provided continuous deep sedation until death and whether they had discussed decisions judged likely to shorten life with the patient -- their own religious beliefs, ethnicity, and their views on assisted dying/euthanasia.

Nearly 4000 doctors responded (42% of the total surveyed), and almost 3000 reported on the care of a patient who had died.

Specialists in the care of the elderly were somewhat more likely to be Hindu or Muslim, while palliative care doctors were somewhat more likely than other doctors to be Christian, white, and agree that they were "religious."

But, overall, white doctors, who comprised the largest ethnic group among the respondents, were the least likely to report strong religious beliefs.

Ethnicity was largely unrelated to rates of reporting ethically controversial decisions, although it was related to support for assisted dying/euthanasia legislation.

Specialty was strongly related to whether a doctor reported having taken decisions, expected or partly intended to, end life. Doctors in hospital specialties were almost 10 times as likely to report this as palliative care specialists.

But irrespective of specialty, doctors who described themselves as "extremely" or "very non-religious" were almost twice as likely to report having taken these kinds of decisions as those with a religious belief.

The most religious doctors were significantly less likely to have discussed end of life care decisions with their patients than other doctors.

These attitudes were reflected in support for assisted dying/euthanasia legislation, with palliative care specialists and those with a strong faith more strongly opposed to it. Asian and white doctors were less opposed to such legislation than doctors from other ethnic groups.

The author concludes that the relationship between doctors' values and their clinical decision making needs to be acknowledged much more than it is at present.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Doctors' religious beliefs strongly influence end-of-life decisions, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825191656.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, August 26). Doctors' religious beliefs strongly influence end-of-life decisions, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825191656.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Doctors' religious beliefs strongly influence end-of-life decisions, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825191656.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins