Monday, August 30, 2010

Frightening new statistics on doctors, released in the United Kingdom

Quote noted by Marc Aupiais

"Seale's study, published online today in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was based on a survey of doctors in specialisms likely to care for people at the end of life, such as neurology, elderly and palliative care but also general practice. More than 8,500 doctors were contacted and almost 4,000 responded.

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.

They were also asked their religious beliefs, ethnicity, and their views on assisted dying/euthanasia. More than 3,000 described the death of a patient.

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."

The chances of a doctor making an ethically controversial decision expected or partly intended to end life was largely unrelated to the doctor's ethnicity, but was strongly related to his or her specialisation. Specialised doctors in hospitals were almost 10 times as likely to report this than palliative care specialists.

But regardless of their speciality, 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 than other doctors to have discussed options at the end of life with their patient."
UK Guardian (British Based; Independent of the state; promotes anti-religious/atheist special interests; Secular/General interests coverage)
26 / 08 | August / 2010

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