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WebMD Study: U.S. Doctors Deeply Divided on Many Matters of Ethical Ambiguity
Date:11/19/2012

responded "yes," 41% said "no," and 33% said "it depends."

Decisions about the legal and financial implications of recommended care were not the only contentious issues among physicians. End-of-life care, which has been a key ethical dilemma during recent years, also revealed a sharp divide among physicians:

  • When asked if physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in some situations, 47% of physicians said "yes," 40% said "no," and 13% said "it depends."
  • When asked if they would give life-sustaining therapy if they believe it to be futile, 35% said "yes," 24% said "no," and 41% said "it depends."

"Armed with technology that can keep many terminally ill patients alive for months and years, doctors today face an extremely complicated decision that is often compounded by the wishes of family members," Kane said. "Despite the complexity of these dilemmas, our survey revealed that doctors feel a significant amount of compassion for their patients -- even if that might lead them to consider actions that may risk their medical license."

The Medscape 2012 Ethics Survey found that 12% of physicians said "yes" and 13% said "it depends" when asked if it is acceptable to overstate or falsify a patient's condition when submitting claims or seeking prior authorization. The majority (75%) of responding physicians, however, said "no."

To learn more about the Medscape 2012 Ethics Survey findings and qualitative physician responses, visit http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/public/ethics2012.

For additional information on ethics within the business of medicine, visit http://www.medscape.com/resource/ethics.

*Medscape 2012 Ethics Survey Methodology: Medscape's 201
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SOURCE WebMD Health Corp.
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