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Doctors' “end of life” decisions vary across Europe

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7412.414-d (Published 21 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:414
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    Religion, culture, and geography all influence decisions by European doctors on limiting “life sustaining treatment” in intensive care, says a major study comparing practices in different countries.

    The Ethicus study into end of life practices in European intensive care units looked at aspects such as religion and culture. It examined more than 30 000 patients admitted to 37 intensive care units in 17 European countries over an 18 month period up to June 2000, concluding that limiting life sustaining treatment is common but that the practice varies among countries (JAMA 2003;290:790-7).

    The researchers, from Israel, classified countries as northern (for example, Denmark and Finland), central(Germany and Austria), or …

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