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COULD ADEQUATE PALLIATIVE CARE OBVIATE ASSISTED SUICIDE?

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Physician views regarding the relationship between palliative care and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are poorly understood. This survey of Connecticut physicians (n = 2,805; 40% response rate) found physicians nearly evenly divided on the question of whether there is a role for PAS in systems where adequate palliative care is available (42% no, 41% yes, 17% uncertain). These groups differ significantly on numerous personal and practice characteristics (all p < .001), as well as perceptions of various risks of PAS (p < .001). Written comments by 152 respondents provide further insights. Views on the respective roles of palliative care and PAS are highly discordant, challenging the development of clinical standards for end-of-life care.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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