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To explore the views of Egyptian psychiatrists on physician-assisted suicide, focusing on demographical, spiritual, legal and clinical domains. We surveyed the views of psychiatrists in four Egyptian counties using a structured questionnaire with a five-point Likert response scale.
A total of 160 psychiatrists completed the questionnaire (response rate 82%). Of these, 50% described the influence of their religious beliefs on their medical practice as very strong/strong and 12.5% as weak/nil. The majority (75%) said they would disagree or strongly disagree with supporting physician-assisted suicide for a terminally ill patient; a similar proportion (76%) were against passive euthanasia. The majority (77%) felt that physician-assisted suicide was against their religious beliefs; there was no significant difference between Muslims and Christians. The majority (82.4%) believed that physician-assisted suicide could/will be abused.
Careful consideration should be given to the safeguarding of psychiatric patients if physician-assisted suicide is legalised. Future studies on the views of clinicians should explore the influence of cultural differences rather than religious beliefs.
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