Social values as an independent factor affecting end of life medical decision making
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- Cohen, C.J., Chen, Y., Orbach, H. et al. Med Health Care and Philos (2015) 18: 71. doi:10.1007/s11019-014-9581-x
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Research shows that the physician’s personal attributes and social characteristics have a strong association with their end-of-life (EOL) decision making. Despite efforts to increase patient, family and surrogate input into EOL decision making, research shows the physician’s input to be dominant. Our research finds that physician’s social values, independent of religiosity, have a significant association with physician’s tendency to withhold or withdraw life sustaining, EOL treatments. It is suggested that physicians employ personal social values in their EOL medical coping, because they have to cope with existential dilemmas posed by the mystery of death, and left unresolved by medical decision making mechanisms such as advanced directives and hospital ethics committees.