Hungarian paediatricians' attitudes regarding the treatment and non-treatment of defective newborns: a comparative study

Bioethics. 1993 Jan;7(1):41-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.1993.tb00270.x.


The four compared surveys clearly show that paediatricians from different backgrounds encounter these moral dilemmas in their everyday practice. Hungarian paediatricians facing morally significant decisions of discontinuation of treatment in defective newborns were permissive toward passive euthanasia like their Australian and Canadian colleagues, but were almost unanimously against active euthanasia like their Polish colleagues. The results of our study revealed a strong paternalistic attitude among Hungarian doctors, unwillingness to include other professionals in a discussion of moral problems and neglect of the nurses' views in these matters. Many physicians in the Hungarian study group were not aware of the legal ramifications in such cases. These findings were similar to the results of the Polish study. It is plausible that the paternalistic attitude and ignorance of the relevant law is common in all 'former' socialist countries. The Australian, Canadian and Hungarian doctors displayed more understanding and tolerance towards passive euthanasia. Many physicians in all study groups seemed to be not familiar with the legal regulations of their own country. The paediatricians of the four studies showed the greatest difference in their attitudes towards active euthanasia, with the Australian community being more permissive, the Canadian, Polish and Hungarian community rejecting it.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities*
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Making
  • Disabled Persons
  • Euthanasia
  • Euthanasia, Active
  • Euthanasia, Passive*
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Infant, Premature*
  • International Cooperation
  • Internationality
  • Jurisprudence
  • Life Support Care
  • Nurses
  • Parents
  • Paternalism
  • Pediatrics*
  • Physicians*
  • Poland
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Control, Formal
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Withholding Treatment*