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Medical practices that hasten death: ethical implications for decision-making

49 months
Approved budget:
Dr Phillipa Malpas
Health issue:
Other (generic health or health services)
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
Medical practices that hasten death (MPHD) are illegal in NZ, yet it is clear that a number of GPs have assisted their desperately ill patients to die. More recently, the public response to a number of high-profile cases suggests that many people support MPHD in certain circumstances. The aim of this research is to explore the reasons New Zealanders have for either supporting or opposing such practices, and to understand the ethical significance of this reasoning for both personal and professional decision-making at the end of life. We will use a variety of approaches (questionnaire and face-to-face interviews) across a range of subject groups (including Maori) to address this aim. This research will provide greater clarity in understanding what is important to people regarding medicine's role in practices that hasten death at the end of life, and assist health professionals in addressing end of life concerns.