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End of life in Europe: an overview of medical practices

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  • Johan Bilsen
  • Joachim Cohen
  • Luc Deliens
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    Abstract

    Physicians are increasingly faced with medical decisions liable to hasten the death of very old patients. According to the Eureld survey conducted in six EEuropean countries, medical decisions of this type occur in between a quarter and a half of deaths. In most cases, they concern potentially life-shortening pain and symptom alleviation (19% of all deaths in Italy, 26% in Denmark). Medical decisions with the explicit intention of hastening the patient's death concern between 2% (Italy) and 21% (Switzerland) of deaths. They consist in withholding or withdrawing treatment, or administering or prescribing lethal drugs. Active euthanasia by administration of lethal drugs is rare.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED) in its series Population and Societies with number 430.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:430

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