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Study: 66 Percent Of Americans Believe There Are Situations Where Patient Should Be Allowed To Die

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credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A new survey has found that a growing minority of Americans want medical professionals to do everything they can to save a patient’s life.

The Pew Research Center released a survey in which 31 percent of Americans say physicians should always do everything possible to save a life, no matter what the circumstances are. This number has more than doubled between 1990 and 2013.

However, two out of three people believe there are some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, the survey found.

Up from 55 percent in 1990, the survey found that 62 percent of Americans who believe that people in a great deal of pain, with no hope of improvement, have a moral right to end their lives.

Concerning whether physicians should be able to assist terminally ill patients in committing suicide, Americans remained divided still. The survey found that roughly 49 percent opposed the idea and 47 percent were in favor. African-Americans and Latinos disapproved more strongly than whites.

Eighty percent of white Catholics believe that in certain situations a patient should be allowed to die compared to 32 percent of Latino Catholics. Forty-one percent of black Protestants, 68 percent of white evangelicals, and 76 percent of white mainline Protestants also share the same sentiments.

People with not a lot of education, Latinos, African-Americans, younger people, and those who have not thought about their end-of-life wishes all believe that doctors should do everything possible to save a life, Pew found.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey this spring by interviewing nearly 2,000 adults by telephone in English or Spanish.

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