The role of doctors' religious faith and ethnicity in taking ethically controversial decisions during end-of-life care

Title

The role of doctors' religious faith and ethnicity in taking ethically controversial decisions during end-of-life care

Creator

Seale C

Publisher

Journal Of Medical Ethics

Date

2010

Subject

Spirituality

Description

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The prevalence of religious faith among doctors and its relationship with decision-making in end-of-life care is not well documented. The impact of ethnic differences on this is also poorly understood. This study compares ethnicity and religious faith in the medical and general UK populations, and reports on their associations with ethically controversial decisions taken when providing care to dying patients. METHOD: A postal survey of 3733 UK medical practitioners, of whom 2923 reported on the care of their last patient who died. FINDINGS: Specialists in care of the elderly were somewhat more likely to be Hindu or Muslim than other doctors; palliative care specialists were somewhat more likely to be Christian, religious and 'white' than others. Ethnicity was largely unrelated to rates of reporting ethically controversial decisions. Independently of speciality, doctors who described themselves as non-religious were more likely than others to report having given continuous deep sedation until death, having taken decisions they expected or partly intended to end life, and to have discussed these decisions with patients judged to have the capacity to participate in discussions. Speciality was independently related to wide variations in the reporting of decisions taken with some intent to end life, with doctors in 'other hospital' specialities being almost 10 times as likely to report this when compared with palliative medicine specialists, regardless of religious faith. CONCLUSIONS: Greater acknowledgement of the relationship of doctors' values with clinical decision-making is advocated.
2010

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

677-682

Issue

11

Volume

36

Citation

Seale C, “The role of doctors' religious faith and ethnicity in taking ethically controversial decisions during end-of-life care,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 25, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/14128.

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