Quarterly scientific journal

The dilemma of euthanasia: Evaluation of nurses’ attitudes against this dilemma

Ioannis Liakopoulos , Minas Kakampouras , Hlias Kolovos , Ioanna Christopoulou

Abstract

The progress of science didn’t only have as a result to cure most illnesses, but also to find methods to maintain life in human beings. But who decides about life or death? How much has this dilemma been a great concern of the Greek nursing profession? Purpose: The aim of this research is to investigate the attitudes of Greek nurses towards the decisions of euthanasia and specifically towards energetic and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide. Material – Method: The data for the research were collected from 212 nurses from four General Hospitals in Athens. For the evaluation of nurses’ attitudes towards euthanasia we used a questionnaire especially designed for this purpose by the researchers after reviewing the bibliography. The statistical analysis of the results was done with spss13.0 and the factor chi-square. Results: The results indicated that, 50.9% of the participants in the study considered that human beings have the right to death, while they were against the right to suicide by 79.7%. Euthanasia was the main concern in the nursing profession to a percentage of 70.3%. As a general perception, 65.1% of the nursing staff did not accept euthanasia in a theoretical level. It came out that the nursing staff was against euthanasia in a practical level by rejecting every form of it. Specifically they were against energetic euthanasia by a percentage of 84.4%, the passive euthanasia by 57.5% and the assisted suicide by 84%. Conclusion: All the above findings of the research lead to the result that the dilemma of euthanasia is the most frequent and cruel dilemma among the Greek nurses. The creation of bioethics committees in every hospital and a clear legal framework is perhaps the solution to this major problem.

Keywords: Euthanasia, bioethics, dilemma, nurses

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