Table 1

Frequency of all the different end-of-life medical decisions
All decisions Most important decision
Weighted data Weighted data
N Percentage 95% Confidence interval Unweighted data N N Percentage 95% Confidence interval
Sudden death 798 16.9 15.8-18.0 789 798 16.9 15.8-18.0
Medical decision without any intention regarding death
Life-prolonging treatment 1513 32 30.7-33.4 588 576 12.2 11.3.13.2
Treatment withheld 325 6.9 6.2-7.6 140 140 3 2.5-3.5
Treatment withdrawn 86 1.8 1.4-2.2 15 15 0.3 0.2-0.5
 Intensification of treatment to alleviate symptoms  with opioids or benzodiazepines 386 8.2 7.4-8.9 252 246 5.2 4.6-5.8
Intention of treatment to alleviate symptoms with  medications other than opioids or benzodiazepines 199 4.2 3.6-4.8 97 97 2.1 1.7-2.5
None of the above 599 12.7 11.7-13.7 571 599 12.7 11.7-13.7
Medical end-of-life practice that possibly or certainly hastened death 2239 2252 47.7
Treatment withheld 1594 33.7 691 688 14.6 13.6-15.6
Knowing that the decision may hasten the death 1526 32.3 31.0-33.6 657 655 13.9 12.9-14.9
With the intention of hastening death 68 1.4 1.1-1.8 34 33 0.7 0.5-0.9
Treatment withdrawn 531 11.2 202 199 4.2 3.6-4.8
Knowing that the decision may hasten the death 465 9.8 9.0-10.7 162 161 3.4 2.9-3.9
With the intention of hastening death 66 1.4 1.1-1.7 40 38 0.8 0.6-1.1
Intensification of treatment to alleviate pain and/or symptoms (opioids/benzodiazepines) 1381 29.2 1346 1327 28.1 26.8-29.4
Knowing that the decision may hasten the death 1324 29.0 26.7-29.3 1306 1288 27.3 26.0-28.5
With the intention of hastening death 57 1.2 0.9-1.5 40 39 0.8 0.6-1.1
Use of a drug to deliberately end life* 38 0.8 0.5-1.1 38 38 0.8 0.5-1.1
At patients request 11 0.2 0.1-0.4 10 11 0.2 0.1-0.4

Sudden deaths: deaths declared “sudden and unexpected” and on which the physician has no information about the end of life.

The weighted percentages are weighted for non-response bias.

All decisions = every affirmative answer to questions about medical decisions.

Most important decision = when more than one decision is observed, the one with the most explicit intention (or awareness) of hastening death (see classification details in Methods).

* no doctor assisted suicide have been observed.

Missing values: 168.

Pennec et al.

Pennec et al. BMC Palliative Care 2012 11:25   doi:10.1186/1472-684X-11-25

Open Data