Nephrologists' subjective attitudes towards end-of-life issues and the conduct of terminal care.

Title

Nephrologists' subjective attitudes towards end-of-life issues and the conduct of terminal care.

Creator

Rutecki G W; Cugino A; Jarjoura D; Kilner J F; Whittier F C

Publisher

Clinical nephrology

Date

1997
1997-09

Description

Decisions which determine the duration and outcome of terminal care should be influenced by patient autonomy. Studies suggest, however, that end-of-life decision-making is more complex than a single principle and that physicians may be responsible for selected aspects of terminal care independent of patient choice. To study how nephrologists' perceptions toward end-of-life issues may affect decision-making, we anonymously surveyed 125 of them. The study employed the straightforward terminology of "hastening death" rather than adopting the ambiguous term "euthanasia" or the narrow term "assisted suicide." Subjective physician profiles demonstrated that nephrologists who are less comfortable with dying patients were significantly less likely to report that they omitted life-prolonging measures (p = 0.02) and more likely to report that they would not initiate measures in order to hasten death even were it legal (p = 0.04). Ninety-eight percent of nephrologists reported omissions in terminal care with patient knowledge and 80% without patient knowledge. In contrast, forty-three percent of the nephrologists said that were it to become legal to initiate measures in order to hasten death, they would "never" do so. The ethical framework utilized for discontinuation of dialysis decisions incorporated medical benefit (cancer as criterion, 48%; multisystem complications, 84%; dementia 79%) and quality of life criteria. Twenty-five percent of nephrologists admitted difficulty with advance directives if the directives clashed with heir beliefs. ESRD end-of-life decision-making in the USA may be altered by the subjective characteristics of nephrologists. In particular, nephrologists' level of discomfort with patient mortality is linked with their reported management of terminal patients.

Subject

Adult; Humans; Middle Aged; Pilot Projects; *Attitude of Health Personnel; Data Collection; *Attitude to Death; Empirical Approach; *Euthanasia; *Terminal Care; Advance Directive Adherence; Advance Directives; Death and Euthanasia; Nephrology; Withholding Treatment; Ethics; Medical; Active

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

173–180

Issue

3

Volume

48

Citation

Rutecki G W; Cugino A; Jarjoura D; Kilner J F; Whittier F C, “Nephrologists' subjective attitudes towards end-of-life issues and the conduct of terminal care.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed April 15, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/5606.

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