More physicians support assisted suicide, 6 other survey findings

A new Medscape survey shows physician support for assisted suicide is growing and sheds light on physician beliefs on other ethical issues.

The survey of 5,200 physicians in 29 specialties found that more than half of them (58 percent) said they believe physician-assisted suicide or physician-assisted dying should be legal for terminally ill patients.

That compares to 57 percent in 2016 and 46 percent in 2010. 

Six other findings:

1. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they believe physician-assisted suicide or physician-assisted dying should not be made legal for patients with incurable suffering, even if the disease isn't going to kill them right away. Twenty-seven percent said they believe it should be made legal, and 28 percent said, "it depends."

2. Half of respondents said they believe physicians should not be expected to devote time annually to charitable cases or unpaid charitable work. Thirty-four percent said they believe physicians should.

3. Forty-three percent of respondents said they believe it is unethical for physicians to discuss or describe their political beliefs to patients. Twenty-three percent said they believe it is ethical, and 33 percent said, "it depends."

4. Forty-five percent of respondents said they would not recommend or provide life-sustaining therapy if they believed it would be futile.

5.  Forty-nine percent of  OB/GYN physician respondents said they would perform an abortion in certain situations, even if it conflicted with their beliefs. That's down from 55 percent in 2016.

6. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they would not treat a family that refused to get recommended vaccines for themselves or their children.

Access the full survey results here.

 

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