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Most doctors think terminally ill patients are treated for too long

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Almost two in three doctors believe terminally ill patients are treated for longer than they should be, which is often against their best interests, according to research by Dutch medical magazine Medisch Contact.

Many of the 726 doctors questioned for the survey felt treatment continues for too long because doctors are trained to carry on. But they also believe patients and family members pressure doctors to continue treatment and patients can be unwilling to accept they will die, the research shows.

Three out of four doctors say the patient’s decision should be decisive when deciding whether or not to switch to palliative care only.

In addition, the research found some 31% of the doctors questioned say costs ‘sometimes’ play a role in the decision-making process. Six out of 10 say the cost of treatment should not be taken into account.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Speak to Edith Schippers and the CVZ about costs. That quango rejected use of a cancer drug, Lapatinib, for certain sufferers of breast cancer. Schippers approved, whilst main cancer researchers objected. The advice is or was online. After several pages about the drug, CVZ decided that its total use in NL per year would probably exceed some *politically predetermined* cost.

By Husserl | 30 May 2012 8:28 AM

Most doctors think terminally ill patients are treated for too long. Scandalous: The Hippocratic Oath states they should do their job. Killing off patients makes less work but. These “Doctor “should remember one day they will be old.

By Terence Hale | 30 May 2012 10:39 AM

@Terence I don't think thats all the doc's saying patients should be euthanised, I think they mean when a patient is in their last weeks or days maybe carrying on treatment (sometimes invasive and causing side affects) and let people rest at the end of their life. The HO states this in fact, which I think goes very well with this " I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism." Seems to fit very nicely.

By David West | 30 May 2012 4:15 PM

I would prefer the doctor who cares about human life than those who don't. Those who don't, it appears, are less likely to give you the best treatment. I am sure they would would want a caring doctor.

By Moshe | 30 May 2012 4:16 PM

I hope I am wrong, but so far I have the impression that the top priority of the doctors in the Netherlands is to keep the insurance companies profitable in short term. In that sense I am not surprised by the results of the research.

By George | 30 May 2012 11:02 PM

I can't believe only six out of ten think that cost should not be taken into account. ONLY six out of ten. Now THAT is scary. How do I get those four cold-hearted doctors to stay away from the people I care about?

By Stupid | 31 May 2012 10:52 AM

Everybody, please read David West's comment. He appears to be the only one who has understood the findings of the survey.

By DougNL | 31 May 2012 12:53 PM

Knowing that doctors already have very little to fear if they are negligent in Holland, because they are policed by their own profession with very little recourse for the patient, and knowing that there is a good chance that money will drive the decision, I will always prefer to be treated outside of Holland. I am also very reluctant to be an organ donor here, because I don't trust that they will not try to do their best. Very sad for everyone that doctors hold so much power here.

By Quest | 31 May 2012 8:00 PM

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