Third of Swedish doctors support euthanasia

doctorA new survey just released in the Svenska Dagbladet indicates that one in every three doctors in Sweden supports legalising euthanasia. Interestingly, the nation’s older doctors and its psychiatrists are the groups most in favour of allowing individuals the right to choose to end their life.

The report showed that 35 percent of the 1,200 practicing physicians who were surveyed thought it should be legal to provide a patient who expressed a desire to kill themselves with a cocktail of prescription drugs. However, 40 percent of doctors were against the idea, and 25 percent of the respondents said they were uncertain.

The Local newspaper contends that this issue threatens to split the current Alliance government because social minister Goran Hagglund is sceptical and does not want any significant public discussion on the issue right now. Many Swedish experts were surprised at the number of doctors in support of euthanasia, including Anna Lindblad at the Karolinska Institute, who conducted the survey. “We had thought that opposition was stronger within the medical profession,” she said.

Recently, Sweden’s state medical ethics council expressed support for the act of doctor-assisted suicide, and suggested the government review the controversial issue. Although the issue hasn’t been breached in government discussions yet, several coalition parties favour legalising euthanasia. Such a huge social topic could split the Alliance government if it gains enough public attention.