Docs Divided on Ethical Dilemmas

Docs Divided on Ethical Dilemmas

Medscape’s 2012 Ethics Report surveyed over 24,000 US physicians across 25 specialties about their top ethical dilemmas.

While there were more obvious dilemmas that physicians generally agreed on how to handle – for example, 78% of physicians would report a physician, friend, or colleague who occasionally seemed impaired by alcohol or illness – there were a considerable number of situations that physicians were split on. Here are some survey questions that divided the survey group:

Would you ever give life sustaining therapy if you believed it to be futile? (Yes: 35%, No: 24%, It depends: 41%)

Would you ever devote scarce or costly resources to a younger patient rather than to one who was older but not facing imminent death? (Yes: 27%, No: 39%, It depends: 25%)

Should physician-assisted suicides be allowed in some situations? (Yes: 47%, No: 40%, It depends: 13%)

Would you ever dismiss a patient who is ‘non-adherent’ or who ‘overuses’ resources on their capitation plans? (Yes: 32%, No: 33%, It depends: 35%)

Is it right to provide intensive care to a newborn who will either die soon or survive but have an objectively terrible quality of life? (Yes: 34%, No: 27%, It depends: 39%)

Would you ever continue treating a patient-despite a family’s wishes to end treatment-if you felt the patient had a chance to recover? (Yes: 23%, No: 32%, It depends: 45%)

Would you perform an abortion in certain situations, even if it were against your own beliefs? (Yes: 51%, No: 36%, It depends: 13%)

Click here to view Medscape’s 2012 Ethics Report.

Which side of the fence do you fall on with these ethical dilemmas?


1 Comment

  1. In this survey there is no mention of skin color, or financial status of the imaginary client that for whom you are making these decisions.

    Then, there is the issue of where the practicioner lives. If the entire small community is of a certain religious denomination or political orientation, that will also overshadow the practicioner decisions.

    When one adds those components, the balance tilts very different.


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