Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9--15

Is every life worth saving: Does religion and religious beliefs influence paramedic's end-of-life decision-making? A prospective questionnaire-based investigation

1 Department of Anaesthesiology, University Hospital of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
2 Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Herzogin Elisabeth Hospital, Braunschweig, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Alexander Leibold
Department of Anaesthesiology, University Hospital of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_128_17

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Background: Paramedics, arriving on emergency cases first, have to make end-of-life decisions almost on a daily basis. Faith shapes attitudes toward the meaning and worth of life itself and therefore influences decision-making. Objective: The objective of this study was to detect whether or not religious and spiritual beliefs influence paramedics in their workday life concerning end-of-life decisions, and whether it is legally possible for them to act according to their conscience. Methods and Design: This is a literature review of prior surveys on the topic using five key words and questionnaire-based investigation using a self-administered online survey instrument. Settings/Participants: Paramedics all over Germany were given the opportunity to participate in this online questionnaire-based study. Measurements: Two databases were searched for prior studies for literature review. Participants were asked about their religiosity, how it affects their work, especially in end-of-life situations, how experienced they are, and whether or not they have any legal latitude to withhold resuscitation. Results: A total of 429 paramedics answered the questionnaire. Religious paramedics would rather hospitalize a patient holding an advance directive than leave him/her at home (P = 0.036) and think death is less a part of life than the nonreligious (P = 0.001). Otherwise, the Spearman's rho correlation was statistically insignificant for all tests regarding resuscitation. Conclusions: The paramedic's religiosity is not the prime factor in his/her decision-making regarding resuscitation.


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