Opinions of Israeli neonatologists about life and death decisions in neonates


Opinions of Israeli neonatologists about life and death decisions in neonates


Kasirer MY;Mimouni FB;Bin-nun A;Schimmel MS


Journal of Perinatology




Israeli;medical decision making;neonatologist;physician attitude;terminal care;adult;age;article;demography;disabled person;disease severity;dying;ethnicity;family attitude;Female;health care cost;human;Israel;Male;medical ethics;medicolegal aspect;middle aged;neonatal intensive care unit;normal human;personal experience;prospective study;psychological well being;questionnaire;religion;sex difference;simulation


Background:: In 2005, the Israeli parliament passed the "law of dying patients" legalizing life and death decisions (do not resuscitate) in patients with life expectancy less than 6 months. Objective:: To determine whether ethnic and religious backgrounds (both religion and religiosity) influence neonatologists' attitudes in simulated clinical situations and opinions about the new law. Design/Methods:: Prospective design, using standard questionnaire sent to all 155 board-certified practising Israeli Neonatologists. The questionnaire sought demographic and descriptive data, personal opinions regarding four simulated cases, and opinions about five statements regarding variables that may influence decision-making. Statistical analyses were by stepwise backward regression analysis, linear regression, and Kruskal-Wallis tests, wherever indicated. Results:: Sixty-nine percent of the neonatologists replied, representing 27 NICUs out of the 29 NICUs in Israel. Most neonatologists would respect the wish of the family as long as it would be within the limits of the law or their personal beliefs. In stepwise regression analysis, religion, religiosity, age, gender, experience, or country of training did not influence significantly the neonatologists' opinions or their decisions in simulated practice. Most neonatologists felt that Ethical Committees had no role in NICUs and were seldom consulted. Most felt that likelihood of severe handicap was critical in decision-making. Issues related to treatment cost of a handicapped or dying infant, as well as impact of a handicapped infant on family's well-being, were not deemed critical. Conclusion:: Israeli neonatologists appear to be a relatively homogeneous group in end-of-life decisions, regardless of their ethnic, religious, or religiosity background.


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Kasirer MY;Mimouni FB;Bin-nun A;Schimmel MS, “Opinions of Israeli neonatologists about life and death decisions in neonates,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 7, 2023, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/15614.