Table 1

Review of the existing literature on attitudes relevant to euthanasia

Number of respondentsResponse rateQuestion asked% of Yes
*ICU: Intensive Care Units.
†VE: precipitating the advent of death of a competent patient who is suffering uncontrollably and explicitly wishes to terminate his or her life by direct interference by the physician, for example, by the injection of a lethal drug.
‡Four criteria: the patient must suffer from unbearable physical pain; the death of the patient must be unavoidable and imminent; all possible palliative care must have been given and no alternatives to alleviate the patient's suffering must exist; the patient must explicitly request doctors to help him or her hasten their death.
1. Medical Doctors
Chiyo, et al, 1993721 ICU* doctors and 22 general practitionersNot reportedWould you approve of VE?†73% and 57% respectively
Sakamoto, et al, 19964273 clinicians who were subscribers to a journal27% (273/1000)Would you approve of VE when four criteria‡ are met?10%
Asai, et al, 19989339 internist members of the Japan Society of Cancer Therapy68% (339/498)Would you approve of VE?21% (there are some situations in which VE is justified)
4% (ethically acceptable)
Miyashita, et al, 199981059 doctors working at hospitals, 466 at clinics, and 52 palliative care specialists51% (1577/3104)Would you approve of directly hastening patient's death to relieve his or her pain?0.4% of doctors at hospital, 1.8% at clinics, and 0% of palliative care physicians
2. Nurses
Chiyo, et al, 1993745 ICU nurses and 52 general ward nursesNot reportedWould you approve of VE?72% and 88% respectively
Miyashita, et al, 199982190 nurses working at hospitals, 425 at clinics, 394 palliative care nurses, and 352 home care nurses56% (3361/6059)Would you approve of directly hastening patient's death to relieve his or her pain?1.5% of nurses working at hospitals, 2.6% at clinics, 1.2% of palliative care nurses, 0.4% of home care nurse