Table 1

Reasons doctors said contributed to the provision of futile treatment

ReasonNumber of doctors citing reasonProportion of total sample (n=96) (%)Number of doctors citing a main reason*Proportion of those citing a main reason* (n=80) (%)
Doctor-related factors92964455
 Trained to treat81843139
 Inexperience with death and dying424434
 Don't want to give up hope384045
 Aversion to death373945
 Worries about legal risk293068
 Poor communication28291418
 Doing everything possible232434
 Emotional attachment to patients192000
 Personality, personal experiences or religion121300
Patient-related factors87915164
 Family or patient request63663341
 Prognostic uncertainty47491721
 Lack of information about patient wishes363879
Hospital-related factors65681215
 Medical hierarchy262711
 Hospitals designed to provide acute care so it does252645
 Hard to stop once started222300
 Time pressure181934
 After-hours care101000
  • *Some doctors provided more than one main reason.