Attitudes of young neurosurgeons and neurosurgical residents towards euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta neurochirurgica. - Wien
, p. 2191-2198
University of Antwerp
Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) are two controversial topics in neurosurgical practice. Personal attitudes and opinions on these important issues may vary between professionals, and may also depend on their location since current legislation differs between European countries. As these issues may have significant impact on clinical practice, the goal of the present study was to survey the opinions of neurosurgical residents and young neurosurgeons across Europe with respect to euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. We performed a survey among the participants of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) training courses (2011-2012), asking residents and young neurosurgeons nine questions on euthanasia and PAS. For the analysis of this survey, we divided all 295 participants into four European regions (North, South, East, West). We found that even though most residents are aware of regulations about euthanasia or PAS in their country or hospital, a substantial number were not aware of the regulations. We observed no significant differences in terms of their opinions on euthanasia and PAS among the four European regions. While most are actually in favor of euthanasia or PAS, if legally allowed, under appropriate circumstances, very few neurosurgeons would be willing to actively participate in these end-of-life practices. The results of this first survey on neurosurgical residents' attitudes towards euthanasia and PAS show that a significant number of residents is not familiar with national and/or local regulations regarding euthanasia and PAS. If legally allowed, most residents would be in favor of euthanasia and PAS, but only a minority would be willing to actively participate in these practices. We did not observe a difference in stances on euthanasia and PAS among residents from different regions in Europe.