Table 4

Characteristics of decision-making by type of medical decision (non sudden deaths)
Life prolonging treatment Withholding treatment Withdrawing treatment Intensification of alleviation of symptoms Administration of a medication to deliberately hasten death
n % n % n % n % n %
Decision discussed with patient (by respondent or other physician)
 Yes 55 9.6 40 8.02 12 8.63 263 19.82 6 16.18
 No 79 13.7 40 8.02 3 2.16 44 3.32 2 6.31
 Patient not competent 308 53.6 357 71.54 112 80.55 904 68.12 25 67.40
 Don't know 19 3.3 6 1.20 3 2.19 26 1.96 1 3.46
 No response 114 19.8 56 11.22 9 6.47 90 6.78 2 6.65
 Discussion, per 100 competent patients 41.0 50.0 80.0 85.7 71.9
Decision following patient's explicit request
 Yes and request repeated 14 2.43 20 4.03 9 6.39 166 12.50 8 21.00
 Yes and request not repeated 4 0.69 5 1.01 1 0.62 41 3.09 2 5.85
 Yes and do not know whether request repeated 7 1.22 7 1.41 0 0.00 40 3.01 1 2.63
 No 418 72.57 392 79.03 117 83.06 962 72.44 22 58.92
 No response 133 23.09 72 14.52 14 9.94 119 8.96 4 11.60
Patient expressed wish at some moment to hasten death
 Yes 13 2.26 46 9.26 14 10.00 203 15.31 14 38.35
 No 333 57.81 261 52.52 86 61.43 809 61.01 11 28.99
 Do not know 115 19.97 126 25.35 30 21.43 210 15.84 10 27.30
 No response 115 19.97 64 12.88 10 7.14 104 7.84 2 5.36
Decision discussed with another person
incompetent person
 Doctors 102 33.12 136 38.10 62 55.36 434 48.01 14 56.00
 Nurses and nursing assistants, medical care team 49 15.91 95 26.61 42 37.50 326 36.06 10 40.00
 Family 74 24.03 171 47.90 64 57.14 549 60.73 19 76.00
 Other people 1 0.32 3 0.84 0 0.00 4 0.44 0 0.00
 Trusted third party 19 6.17 29 8.12 15 13.39 150 16.59 5 20.00
 As part of a collective decision 16 5.19 24 6.72 15 13.39 137 15.15 5 20.00
 No 119 38.64 48 13.45 4 3.57 57 6.31 1 4.00
 No response 7 2.27 8 2.24 1 0.89 11 1.22 0 0.00
Trusted third party
incompetent person
 Yes and involved in discussion phase 57 18.51 71 19.89 22 19.64 312 34.55 8 32.00
 Yes and not involved in discussion phase 19 6.17 7 1.96 6 5.36 11 1.22 1 4.00
 Yes and do not know whether involved or not 4 1.30 2 0.56 1 0.89 3 0.33 0 0.00
 No 99 32.14 108 30.25 31 27.68 295 32.67 10 40.00
 No because patient not capable of naming one 54 17.53 105 29.41 27 24.11 177 19.60 4 16.00
 Do not know 75 24.35 64 17.93 25 22.32 105 11.63 2 8.00
Advance directive
incompetent person
 Yes and was an important factor in the decision 1 0.32 2 0.56 0 0.00 9 1.00 2 8.00
 Yes and was not important factor in the decision 0 0.00 2 0.56 0 0.00 3 0.33 0 0.00
 Yes and do not know whether important factor  in the decision 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00
 No 185 60.06 233 65.45 75 66.96 685 75.86 16 64.00
 Do not know 122 39.61 119 33.43 37 33.04 206 22.81 7 28.00
Best description of the medical act
 Symptom treatment 337 58.41 144 28.92 17 12.15 717 54.03 7 19.44
 Decision to withhold or withdraw treatment 20 3.47 237 47.59 104 74.31 123 9.27 6 17.06
 Sedation for distress in terminal phase 10 1.73 19 3.82 1 0.60 361 27.21 17 45.59
 Euthanasia 0 0.00 0 0.00 1 0.79 1 0.07 5 12.04
 Medically assisted suicide 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00
 Other 66 11.44 30 6.02 6 4.29 18 1.36 0 0.00
 No response 144 24.96 68 13.65 11 7.86 107 8.06 2 5.87

All percentages are weighted for non-response, to ensure there are representative of the initial. The percentage cannot be derived from the absolute unweighted absolute numbers.

Pennec et al.

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

Open Data