Context: Advances in expertise and equipment have enabled the medical profession to exercise more control over the processes of life and death, creating a number of moral and ethical dilemmas. People may live for extended periods with chronic painful or debilitating conditions that may be incurable. Aim: This study attempts to study the attitudes of doctors toward euthanasia and the possible factors responsible for these attitudes. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional survey of 213 doctors working at a tertiary care hospital was conducted to determine their attitudes toward euthanasia. Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess attitudes and personal perceptions about euthanasia. Statistical Analysis Used: The Chi square test was used to assess factors influencing attitudes toward euthanasia. Results: A majority of the respondents (69.3%) supported the concept of euthanasia. Relief from unbearable pain and suffering was the most commonly (80.3%) cited reason for being willing to consider the option of euthanasia. Majority of those who were against euthanasia (66.2%) felt that the freedom to perform euthanasia could easily be misused. Disapproval of euthanasia was associated with religious affiliation (P<0.001) and speciality (P<0.001). Conclusions: A majority of the doctors in this study supported euthanasia for the relief of unbearable pain and suffering. Religion and speciality appear to be significant in determining attitudes toward euthanasia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health