Social values as an independent factor affecting end of life medical decision making

Charles J. Cohen, Yifat Chen, Hedi Orbach, Yossi Freier-Dror, Gail Auslander, Gabriel S. Breuer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research shows that the physician’s personal attributes and social characteristics have a strong association with their end-of-life (EOL) decision making. Despite efforts to increase patient, family and surrogate input into EOL decision making, research shows the physician’s input to be dominant. Our research finds that physician’s social values, independent of religiosity, have a significant association with physician’s tendency to withhold or withdraw life sustaining, EOL treatments. It is suggested that physicians employ personal social values in their EOL medical coping, because they have to cope with existential dilemmas posed by the mystery of death, and left unresolved by medical decision making mechanisms such as advanced directives and hospital ethics committees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • End of life
  • Israel
  • Medical decision making
  • Social values

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