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The right to information for the terminally ill patient.
  1. E Osuna,
  2. M D Pérez-Cárceles,
  3. M A Esteban,
  4. A Luna
  1. Department of Legal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain. eosuna@fcu.um.es

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVES: To analyse the attitudes of medical personnel towards terminally ill patients and their right to be fully informed. DESIGN: Self-administered questionnaire composed of 56 closed questions. SETTING: Three general hospitals and eleven health centres in Granada (Spain). The sample comprised 168 doctors and 207 nurses. RESULTS: A high percentage of medical personnel (24.1%) do not think that informing the terminally ill would help them face their illness with greater serenity. Eighty-four per cent think the patient's own home is the best place to die: 8.9% of the subjects questioned state that the would not like to be informed of an incurable illness. CONCLUSION: In our opinion any information given should depend on the patient's personality, the stage of the illness and family circumstances. Our study confirms that a hospital is not the ideal environment for attending to the needs of the terminally ill and their families.

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