Pediatric cancer represents 1% to 4% of all cancers worldwide, with the majority of diagnoses in developing countries where mortality remains much higher than that in high-income countries. We sought to describe differences in ethical decision-making at the end of life among an international sample of pediatric oncologists practicing in countries with a variety of income levels and resource settings.
Pediatric oncologists subscribing to an educational international oncology Web site were invited to complete a 38-item web-based survey investigating ethical domains related to end-of-life care: level of care, fiduciary responsibility, decision making, and justice.
Responses were received from 401 physicians in 83 countries, with most respondents practicing in middle-income or high-income countries. Significant differences in attitudes toward ethical issues existed across the national developmental indices.
Further education on ethical principles is warranted in pediatric oncology, particularly among oncologists practicing in low-income or middle-income countries.
*University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill
§Duke University, Durham, NC
‡Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, TX
†St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
∥Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR
A.M.S.V. and L.-M.J. are co-first authors.
Supported in part by NIH Cancer Center Support Core Grant CA-21765 and the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC).
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Reprints: Justin N. Baker, MD, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, MS 260, Memphis, TN 38105 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received July 18, 2014
Accepted September 11, 2014