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?