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The Perspective of Palestinian Physicians and Nurses about the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order for Terminally Ill Patients

Ahmad Rajeh Saifan, Intima Alrimawi, Mohannad Eid AbuAlruz and Raghad Abdelkader

Background: Different methods have evolved to improve health outcomes over the decades, one of the most critical of which is cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Recently, the utility of this method has been debated for terminally ill patients, leading to the patient classification of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) for some terminally ill patients. Research about this ethically sensitive topic is lacking worldwide, particularly in the Middle East due to cultural and religious concerns.

Objectives: To explore whether Palestinian physicians and nurses agree with legalizing DNR order in Palestine, and if their religion, culture or both affect their decision regarding the DNR order.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 123 participants (48 physicians and 75 nurses). Data were collected from five major hospitals in Palestine using a 24- item self-reported Likert scale questionnaire.

Results: The majority of the participants were nurses (61.0%), and males (66.7%). More than two-thirds of the sample were in favour of legalizing the DNR order in Palestine. More than two-thirds of nurses and approximately two-thirds of physicians felt that religious beliefs greatly influence their view of DNR, and made it difficult for them to deal with the DNR issues.

Conclusion: Palestinian professionals expressed that their attitudes toward DNR were greatly influenced by their religious and cultural background. Moreover, they want this order to be legalized in Palestine.