Doctors’ attitude towards euthanasia: A cross-sectional study

Sonu Hangma Subba, Varun Khullar, Yusra Latafat, Khushboo Chawla, Apoorva Nirmal, Tanvi Chaudhary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Euthanasia is a controversial issue that puts doctors into a dilemma and can have the capacity to end the patients’ sufferings. However, it is never an easy decision; hence, this study was planned to find the attitude of practicing doctors of medical colleges in a South Indian city of Mangalore towards euthanasia. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in March-April 2010 among the doctors practicing in the four medical colleges of Mangalore city. A pretested semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 220 doctors after their informed consent. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 11.5. Result: Mean age of the doctors was 37.9 years (SD=9. 4), most of them were males and belonging to the Hindu religion. Euthanasia was justified according to 46.8% of the doctors in order to curtail the sufferings of the patients or to ameliorate the emotional and financial burden. Another 41% said it should be legalized and 39% said that they would use it if it was legalized. Nevertheless 84.5% of them were concerned that it may be misused if legalized. More than half of them felt it was not justified in the face of moral obligations and legal complications. Religion and department were independently associated with the doctors feeling that euthanasia was justified with 69.4% of Muslim doctors saying it was justified as compared to 59.2% of Hindu doctors (OR=2.82; p=.001) and 59.3% of doctors from medical specialities said it was justified as opposed to 39.8% of doctors from surgical specialities (OR=2.3; p=.008). Despite the illegality of it, 25% of the doctors had received requests from patients and 22.3% from relatives for euthanasia. Conclusion: Though euthanasia is illegal in the country, there are doctors who feel it is justified in some situations, yet not without reservations. The fact that they had been requested for euthanasia by the patients and relatives show that even the public are being aware and accepting the practice. Yet, the law in our country has not changed and it would be worthwhile to garner opinions and attitudes of all stakeholders to aid the legislators in framing policy guidelines in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Association of Physicians of India
Issue numberJUNE
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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