Euthanasia: attitudes and practices of medical practitioners

Med J Aust. 1994 Jul 18;161(2):137, 140, 142-4.


Objective: To record doctors' attitudes towards, and practice of, active voluntary euthanasia (AVE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Methods: A postal survey was sent to a random sample of 2000 practitioners on the Medical Register of NSW (which includes medical practitioners in the ACT).

Results: Almost half the practitioners had been asked to perform euthanasia, of whom 28% had complied. Of practitioners asked to assist with suicide, 7% had complied. There was majority support for changes to the law concerning euthanasia.

Conclusions: There are relatively high levels of support for, and practice of, AVE and PAS by medical practitioners in New South Wales and the ACT, suggesting that the current legislation should be reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Decision Making
  • Euthanasia* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Euthanasia, Active
  • Euthanasia, Active, Voluntary*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Suicide, Assisted* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Terminal Care