Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41--50

Palliative care physicians' religious / world view and attitude towards euthanasia: A quantitative study among flemish palliative care physicians


Inter-disciplinary Centre for the Study of Religion and Worldview, K.U. Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence Address:
B Broeckaert
Inter-disciplinary Centre for the Study of Religion and Worldview, K.U. Leuven
Belgium
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.53511

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Aims: To Study the religious and ideological views and practice of Palliative Care physician towards Euthanasia. Materials and Methods: An anonymous self administered questionnaire approved by Flemish Palliative Care Federation and its ethics steering group was sent to all physicians(n-147) working in Flemish Palliative Care. Questionnaire consisted of three parts. In first part responded were requested to provide demographic information. In second part the respondents were asked to provide information concerning their religion or world view through several questions enquiring after religious or ideological affiliation,religious or ideological self-definition, view on life after death, image of God, spirituality, importance of rituals in their life, religious practice, and importance of religion in life. The third part consisted of a list of attitudinal statements regarding different treatment decisions in advanced disease on which the respondents had to give their opinion using a five-point Likert scale.99 physician responded. Results: We were able to distinguish four clusters: Church-going physicians, infrequently church-going physicians, atheists and doubters. We found that like the Belgian general public, many Flemish palliative care physicians concoct their own religious or ideological identity and feel free to drift away from traditional religious and ideological authorities. Conclusions: In our research we noted that physicians who have a strong belief in God and express their faith through participation in prayer and rituals, tend to be more critical toward euthanasia. Physicians who deny the existence of a transcendent power and hardly attend religious services are more likely to approve of euthanasia even in the case of minors or demented patients. In this way this study confirms the influence of religion and world view on attitudes toward euthanasia.






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