Prolonging life distresses doctors when not in patient's best interests

Moral conflict greatest when patients' guardians want more treatment but the doctor prefers palliative care, study shows

When their patients cannot make decisions about life-prolonging care, many doctors feel moral distress when acting on the choices of their guardians, a small survey suggests.

Intensive care

Doctors most often felt ethical strain when the patient was older or the guardian wanted more life-sustaining treatment than the doctor felt appropriate, researchers report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Dr Alexia Torke, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, US, and colleagues analysed survey responses from