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Dying cancer patients' own opinions on euthanasia: An expression of autonomy? A qualitative study.
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Health, Activity, Care. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, LAH Linköping. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in the East of Östergötland, Centre of Competence in Palliative Care. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
2012 (English)In: Palliative Medicine: A Multiprofessional Journal, ISSN 0269-2163, E-ISSN 1477-030X, Vol. 26, no 1, 34-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION: Deliberations on euthanasia are mostly theoretical, and often lack first-hand perspectives of the affected persons. METHOD: Sixty-six patients suffering from cancer in a palliative phase were interviewed about their perspectives of euthanasia in relation to autonomy. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis with no predetermined categories. RESULTS: The informants expressed different positions on euthanasia, ranging from support to opposition, but the majority were undecided due to the complexity of the problem. The informants' perspectives on euthanasia in relation to autonomy focused on decision making, being affected by (1) power and (2) trust. Legalization of euthanasia was perceived as either (a) increasing patient autonomy by patient empowerment, or (b) decreasing patient autonomy by increasing the medical power of the health care staff, which could be frightening. The informants experienced dependence on others, and expressed various levels of trust in others' intentions, ranging from full trust to complete mistrust. CONCLUSIONS: Dying cancer patients perceive that they cannot feel completely independent, which affects true autonomous decision making. Further, when considering legalization of euthanasia, the perspectives of patients fearing the effects of legalization should also be taken into account, not only those of patients opting for it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: Sage Publications Ltd. , 2012. Vol. 26, no 1, 34-42 p.
Keyword [en]
Attitude, euthanasia, palliative care, personal autonomy, power, qualitative research, trust
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70574DOI: 10.1177/0269216311404275ISI: 000298330200004PubMedID: 21543526OAI: diva2:440583
Funding agencies|Swedish Research Council||Swedish Cancer Society||County of Ostergotland||Available from: 2011-09-13 Created: 2011-09-13 Last updated: 2012-01-20

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Milberg, Anna
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Health, Activity, CareLAH LinköpingCentre of Competence in Palliative CareFaculty of Health Sciences
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Palliative Medicine: A Multiprofessional Journal
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