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Veterinary surgeons' attitudes towards physician-assisted suicide: an empirical study of Swedish experts on euthanasia
Linköpings universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5531-817X
Karolinska institutet.
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet.
Karolinska institutet.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Medical Ethics, ISSN 0306-6800, E-ISSN 1473-4257, Vol. 37, no 5, 295-298 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: To examine the hypothesis that knowledge about physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia is associated with a more restrictive attitude towards PAS.

Design: A questionnaire about attitudes towards PAS, including prioritisation of arguments pro and contra, was sent to Swedish veterinary surgeons. The results were compared with those from similar surveys of attitudes among the general public and physicians.

Participants: All veterinary surgeons who were members of the Swedish Veterinary Association and had provided an email address (n=2421).

Main outcome measures: Similarities or differences in response pattern between veterinary surgeons, physicians and the general public.

Results: The response pattern among veterinary surgeons and the general public was almost similar in all relevant aspects. Of the veterinarians 75% (95% CI 72% to 78%) were in favour of PAS, compared with 73% (95% CI 69% to 77%) among the general public. Only 10% (95% CI 5% to 15%) of the veterinary surgeons were against PAS, compared with 12% (95% CI 5% to 19%) among the general public. Finally, 15% (95% CI 10% to 21%) of veterinarians were undecided, compared with 15% (95% CI 8% to 22%) among the general public. Physicians had a more restrictive attitude to PAS than the general public.

Conclusions: Since veterinary surgeons have frequent practical experience of euthanasia in animals, they do have knowledge about what euthanasia really is. Veterinary surgeons and the general public had an almost similar response pattern. Accordingly it seems difficult to maintain that knowledge about euthanasia is unambiguously associated with a restrictive attitude towards PAS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 37, no 5, 295-298 p.
National Category
Medical Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-4489DOI: 10.1136/jme.2010.038901ISI: 000289715300008PubMedID: 21266390OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-4489DiVA: diva2:797928
Available from: 2015-03-25 Created: 2015-03-25 Last updated: 2015-03-25Bibliographically approved

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