Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: Attitudes of Irish consultant physicians

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Crowley, P.
Doran, Kieran
O'Caoimh, Rónán
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Introduction: This study examines the attitudes of Irish consultant physicians towards euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Methods: Data were collected between May and October 2016. A questionnaire was distributed to all consultant physicians listed in the Irish Medical Directory under general internal medicine specialties. Demographic details were collected. Likert-type questions assessed attitudes towards euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Results: The overall response rate was 28.7% (238/830). The majority, 67.2%, opposed legalising euthanasia, with 14% in favour and 18.8% remaining neutral. A majority, 56.3%, also opposed legalising physician-assisted suicide, while 17% were in favour and 26.7% remained neutral. Over one-third, 37.5%, had received a request from a patient to hasten that patient’s death. Receiving such a request did not significantly influence attitudes towards either euthanasia (p=0.53) or physician-assisted suicide (p=0.48). There was a significant association between self-expressed level of religiosity and opposition to both euthanasia (p<0.001) and physician-assisted suicide (p<0.001). Attitudes were not significantly affected by respondents’ age. Discussion: The majority of Irish physicians who responded to the survey were opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This is the first published study of the attitudes of Irish physicians in this regard and constitutes an important contribution to the ongoing national debate on these issues.
Irish consultant physicians , Euthanasia , Physician-assisted suicide
Crowley, P., Doran, K. and O'Caoimh, R. (2021) 'Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: Attitudes of Irish consultant physicians', Irish Medical Journal, 114(4), P328 (7pp). Available at: (Accessed: 23 July 2021)
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