Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 71–80 | Cite as

Social values as an independent factor affecting end of life medical decision making

  • Charles J. Cohen
  • Yifat Chen
  • Hedi Orbach
  • Yossi Freier-Dror
  • Gail Auslander
  • Gabriel S. BreuerEmail author
Scientific Contribution


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.


End of life Social values Medical decision making Israel 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Cohen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yifat Chen
    • 4
    • 5
  • Hedi Orbach
    • 6
  • Yossi Freier-Dror
    • 7
  • Gail Auslander
    • 8
  • Gabriel S. Breuer
    • 1
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of MedicineShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Efrata Teachers CollegeJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.School of Social WorkAriel University Center of SamariaArielIsrael
  5. 5.School of Social WorkTel Aviv Medical CenterTel AvivIsrael
  6. 6.Department of Medicine BWolfson Medical CenterHolonIsrael
  7. 7.Mashav Applied Research Ltd.JerusalemIsrael
  8. 8.Paul Baerwald School of Social WorkHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  9. 9.The Hebrew University Hadassah School of MedicineJerusalemIsrael

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