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Clinical ethical dilemmas for vascular surgeons (The vascuethics study) : are self-interest attitudes related to profeccional seniority
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European Journal Vascular Endovascular Surgery
Objective. To evaluate the association between professional seniority and self-interest (PSI) attitudes in the resolution of vascular ethical dilemmas (VED). Design. Cross-sectional. Subjects. Vascular surgeons (residents included) from the 28 vascular teaching departments of Spain. Measurements. Multidisciplinary team-designed questionnaire of 5 VED. Each VED had 3 different answers (attitudes): 2 favouring legitimate ethical attitudes (LEA) and 1 favouring PSI. The questionnaire was self-administered and all participants stated their degree of agreement with each answer on a continuous Likert scale. PSI was evaluated by: (1) adding the magnitudes of the 5 answers favouring PSI (absPSI); and (2) by comparing in each case the magnitude of the PSI answer with that of the 2 LEA (relPSI). Statistics. Linear regression adjusted by confounding factors. Results. Two hundred and fifty-three vascular surgeons from the 26 participating teaching vascular departments of public hospitals completed the questionnaire (87.5% surgeons/department). Surgeon characteristics were: (1) median age 37 years; (2) 187 (74%) male; (3) 59 (23%) brought up with a health professional relative; (4) 94 (38%) had additional private practice; (5) 133 (65%) professed religious beliefs; and (6) 1–10 years of experience in 116 (47%), 11–20 years in 58 (24%), 21–30 years in 57 (23%), and .30 years in 15 (6%). The multivariate analysis disclosed that for every 10-years rise in professional seniority there was a 3.2% increase in absPSI (p ¼ 0.007, adjusted by variables 3 and 4), and a 3.4% increase in relPSI (p ¼ 0.002, adjusted by variable 5). Conclusions. Professional seniority is associated with a slight increase in pro-PSI attitudes in cases of vascular ethical dilemma. Both vascular surgeons and health institutions should promote the reversal of this worrying tendency.
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