Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Public disagrees with doctors on when it's right to withhold treatment

15.02.2008
Doctors do not think like the general public when it comes to making decisions about how to treat – or not treat – severely ill patients. According to research published in the open access journal Critical Care, the majority of doctors would withhold treatment in certain circumstances, whereas most members of the public would not.

Researchers in Sweden sent a questionnaire to almost 1000 adults randomly selected from the general population, and more than 400 intensive care doctors and neurosurgeons. In plain language, it worked through the case of a 72-year-old patient suffering from a severe intracerebral haemorrhage.

First, it looked at the case for and against neurosurgery. Second, it considered what should be done when, following the operation, it became clear that the patient would not survive without life support. Finally, after life support had been withdrawn, it asked whether potent sedatives and analgesics should be administered, even though this might hasten death.

The majority of the public (59.8%) supported arguments in favour of performing the neurosurgery, saying that “the primary task of health care is to save lives”. Most of the doctors (82.3%), however, were reluctant to perform heroic surgery in the setting of a pessimistic prognosis, arguing that surgery would not improve the patient's quality of life.

Neither of the groups was swayed by the age of the patient or cost-benefit argument for not performing surgery.

As the patient’s health deteriorated, the study demonstrates that the attitudes of the public and doctors begin to converge. A majority of doctors and the public supported the withdrawal of life support, although often for different reasons. More of the public considered the patient's wishes to be important.

Over 95% of doctors and 82% of the public agreed to the administration of potent sedatives and analgesics, both groups wanting to keep the patient calm and pain-free rather than hasten death. More members of the public than doctors said that drugs should not be given if there was any risk of hastening death; over a quarter of the public regarded this as a form of euthanasia rather than an inevitable side effect.

“On the whole, the results indicate that the general public has high expectations of what the health care system is capable of doing,” notes Anders Rydvall, who led the study. “It is important that doctors appreciate the differences in the ways that they and the public work through these difficult decisions. If they understand the arguments, expectations and preferences of the public or relatives that will be better equipped to prevent miscommunication or controversy.”

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>