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Doctor Survey Results – online extras

By Leah Carey
Dec. 6, 2016

This survey was distributed to medical professionals at three local health care organizations: Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; North Country Hospital in Newport, Vermont; and Ammonoosuc Community Health Services in Littleton, New Hampshire.

The survey was anonymous.

We received a total of 35 responses.

Question 1

Imagine you have a patient with a terminal condition. Without treatment, statistics say they have approximately 6 months to live, during which they will be able to fully engage in life. With treatment, they have approximately 9 months to live. The treatment has side effects that will affect their ability to fully engage. The patient has said that they trust you completely to make the best recommendation. What is your inclination?

A. Recommend treatment 0
B. Recommend against treatment 8
C. Explain both options equally and don’t make a recommendation 27

Question 2

Imagine your closest loved one (spouse, child, parent, or friend) has been diagnosed with a terminal condition. Without treatment, they have approximately 6 months to live, during which they will be able to fully engage in life. With treatment, they have approximately 9 months to live. The treatment has side effects that will significantly affect their ability to fully engage. Your loved one has said that they trust you to make the best recommendation. What is your inclination?

A. Recommend treatment 0
B. Recommend against treatment 19
C. Explain both options equally and don’t make a recommendation 16

Question 3

Imagine you have been diagnosed with a terminal condition. Without treatment, you have approximately 6 months to live, during which you will be able to fully engage in your life. With treatment, you have approximately 9 months to live. The treatment has side effects that will significantly affect your ability to fully engage. What is your inclination?

A. Choose treatment 2
B. Choose to not have treatment 31
No answer 1

Demographics

Gender:

Female 18
Male 16
No answer 1

Age:

21-30 years old 2
31-40 years old 6
41-50 years old 5
51-60 years old 11
61-70 years old 10

Gender and age:

Male Female
Under 50 5 8
Over 50 11 10

Statistical analysis

Percentage of total respondents:

A B C
Question 1 0% 24% 76%
Question 2 0% 56% 44%
Question 3 6% 91%

Notes of interest:

Doctors in this survey are a bit more than twice as willing to be involved in actual decision making when the patient is a loved one rather than a patient.

While doctors in this survey are willing to make a strong recommendation against treatment to both a patient and a loved one, they are universally unwilling to make a strong recommendation for treatment.

Percentage by gender:

Male (16 respondents)

A B C
Question 1 0% 31% 69%
Question 2 0% 50% 50%
Question 3 12% 81%

Female (18 respondents)

A B C
Question 1 0% 17% 83%
Question 2 0% 56% 44%
Question 3 0% 100%

Notes of interest:

While males are a bit more willing to make a strong recommendation against treatment to a patient, they are also more willing to accept treatment for themselves.

The shift from not making a strong recommendation to a patient to making a strong recommendation against treatment to a loved one is pronounced in the female respondents. They are also universally uninterested in receiving aggressive end-of-life treatment.

Percentage by age range:

Under 50 years old (14 respondents)

A B C
Question 1 0% 14% 86%
Question 2 0% 50% 50%
Question 3 0% 100%

Over 50 years old (21 respondents)

A B C
Question 1 0% 29% 71%
Question 2 0% 57% 43%
Question 3 10% 86%

Notes of interest:

The shifts by age closely mirror the shifts by gender, with women mirroring the under-50 respondents and males mirroring the over-50 respondents.

 

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