Care of terminally-ill patients: an opinion survey among critical care healthcare providers in the Middle East

  • M ur Rahman
  • S Abuhasna
  • FM Abu-Zidan


Background: Modern medicine has allowed physicians to support the dying terminally-ill patient with artificial means. However, a common dilemma faced by physicians in general, and intensivist in particular is when to limit or withdraw aggressive intervention.
Objective: To study the effect of training background and seniority on Do-not to resuscitate (DNR) decisions in the Middle East.
Methods: Anonymous questionnaire sent to members of the Pan Arab Society of Critical Care.
Results: The response rate was 46.2%. Most of the responders were Muslim (86%) and consultants (70.9%). Majority of the responders were trained in western countries. Religion played a major role in 59.3% for making the DNR decision. DNR was considered equivalent to comfort care by 39.5%. In a futile case scenario, Do Not Escalate Therapy was preferred (54.7%). The likelihood of a patient, once labeled DNR, being clinically neglected was a concern among 46.5%. Admission of DNR patients to the ICU was acceptable for 47.7%. Almost one-half of the responders (46.5%) wanted physicians to have the ultimate authority in the DNR decision. Training background was a significant factor affecting the interpretation of the term no code DNR (P< 0.008).
Conclusion: Training background and level of seniority in critical care provider does not impact opinion on most of end of life issues related to care of terminally-ill patients. However, DNR is considered equivalent to comfort care among majority of Middle Eastern trained physicians.

Keywords: Do-not resuscitate, Islam, care of terminally-ill, opinion, training

African Health Sciences 2013; 13(4): 893 - 898

Author Biographies

M ur Rahman
Tawam Hospital in affiliation with Johns Hopkins, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
S Abuhasna
Tawam Hospital in affiliation with Johns Hopkins, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
FM Abu-Zidan
Trauma Group, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905