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Physicians' attitudes and actual practices concerning physician-assisted dying in minors: a nationwide survey

Geert Pousset UGent, Freddy Mortier UGent, Johan Bilsen UGent, Joachim Cohen and Luc Deliens UGent (2010) PALLIATIVE MEDICINE. 24(4, suppl.). p.S197-S197
abstract
Aim: This study investigates attitudes towards physician-assisted death in minor patients of all physicians involved in the treatment of dying minor patients in Flanders, Belgium, and how these attitudes are related to physicians’ and patients’ characteristics and actual medical end-of-life practices. Method : Physicians signing death certificates of all 250 patients aged 1-17 years who died between June 2007 and November 2008 in Flanders, Belgium, were sent an anonymous questionnaire on their attitudes and end-of-life practices in the death concerned. Results : Response was obtained from 124 physicians for 71% of eligible cases (N=149). Sixty-nine percent of physicians favors an extension of the Belgian law on euthanasia to include minors, 27% thinks this should be done by setting clear age limits. Sixty-one percent thought parental consent is required before taking life-shortening decisions and 52% found the administration of a lethal drug to a non competent minor on parental request was acceptable. Cluster-analysis yielded a cluster acceptant of (68% of physicians) and a cluster (32% of physicians) reluctant towards physician-assisted death in minors. Controlling for physician specialty and patient characteristics, acceptant physicians were more likely to engage in various practices with a (co-)intention of shortening the patient’s life than reluctant physicians. Conclusion : A majority of Flemish physicians involved in the care of dying children seems to accept physician-assisted dying in children under certain circumstances and favors an amendment to the euthanasia law to include minor patients. The approach favored is assessing competency rather than setting an arbitrary age-limit. These stances may encourage policy-makers to develop guidelines for medical end-of-life practices in minors that address specific challenges arising in this patient group, including how children and parents should be involved in the decision-making process.
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author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
PALLIATIVE MEDICINE
Palliat. Med.
volume
24
issue
4, suppl.
article number
abstract 606
pages
S197 - S197
conference name
6th Research congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC 2010)
conference location
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
conference start
2010-06-10
conference end
2010-06-12
JCR category
HEALTH CARE SCIENCES & SERVICES
JCR impact factor
2.515 (2010)
JCR rank
13/71 (2010)
JCR quartile
1 (2010)
ISSN
0269-2163
DOI
10.1177/0269216310366390
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1002186
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1002186
date created
2010-07-05 11:37:05
date last changed
2016-12-21 15:40:39
@inproceedings{1002186,
  abstract     = {Aim: This study investigates attitudes towards physician-assisted death in minor patients of all physicians involved in the treatment of dying minor patients in Flanders, Belgium, and how these attitudes are related to physicians{\textquoteright} and patients{\textquoteright} characteristics and actual medical end-of-life practices.
Method : Physicians signing death certificates of all 250 patients aged 1-17 years who died between June 2007 and November 2008 in Flanders, Belgium, were sent an anonymous questionnaire on their attitudes and end-of-life practices in the death concerned.
Results : Response was obtained from 124 physicians for 71\% of eligible cases (N=149). Sixty-nine percent of physicians favors an extension of the Belgian law on euthanasia to include minors, 27\% thinks this should be done by setting clear age limits. Sixty-one percent thought parental consent is required before taking life-shortening decisions and 52\% found the administration of a lethal drug to a non competent minor on parental request was acceptable. Cluster-analysis yielded a cluster acceptant of (68\% of physicians) and a cluster (32\% of physicians) reluctant towards physician-assisted death in minors. Controlling for physician specialty and patient characteristics, acceptant physicians were more likely to engage in various practices with a (co-)intention of shortening the patient{\textquoteright}s life than reluctant physicians. 
Conclusion : A majority of Flemish physicians involved in the care of dying children seems to accept physician-assisted dying in children under certain circumstances and favors an amendment to the euthanasia law to include minor patients. The approach favored is assessing competency rather than setting an arbitrary age-limit. These stances may encourage policy-makers to develop guidelines for medical end-of-life practices in minors that address specific challenges arising in this patient group, including how children and parents should be involved in the decision-making process.},
  articleno    = {abstract 606},
  author       = {Pousset, Geert and Mortier, Freddy and Bilsen, Johan and Cohen, Joachim and Deliens, Luc},
  booktitle    = {PALLIATIVE MEDICINE},
  issn         = {0269-2163},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Glasgow, Scotland, UK},
  number       = {4, suppl.},
  pages        = {abstract 606:S197--abstract 606:S197},
  title        = {Physicians' attitudes and actual practices concerning physician-assisted dying in minors: a nationwide survey},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269216310366390},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Pousset, Geert, Freddy Mortier, Johan Bilsen, Joachim Cohen, and Luc Deliens. 2010. “Physicians’ Attitudes and Actual Practices Concerning Physician-assisted Dying in Minors: a Nationwide Survey.” In Palliative Medicine, 24:S197–S197.
APA
Pousset, G., Mortier, F., Bilsen, J., Cohen, J., & Deliens, L. (2010). Physicians’ attitudes and actual practices concerning physician-assisted dying in minors: a nationwide survey. PALLIATIVE MEDICINE (Vol. 24, pp. S197–S197). Presented at the 6th Research congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC 2010).
Vancouver
1.
Pousset G, Mortier F, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Deliens L. Physicians’ attitudes and actual practices concerning physician-assisted dying in minors: a nationwide survey. PALLIATIVE MEDICINE. 2010. p. S197–S197.
MLA
Pousset, Geert, Freddy Mortier, Johan Bilsen, et al. “Physicians’ Attitudes and Actual Practices Concerning Physician-assisted Dying in Minors: a Nationwide Survey.” Palliative Medicine. Vol. 24. 2010. S197–S197. Print.