Table 1

Background Characteristics of Physician Respondents: Family Physicians With and Without VSED Experience

CharacteristicTotal (N = 708)Experience With VSED (n = 313)No Experience With VSED (n = 383)
Age, y
 Mean (SD)a50 (8)52 (8)49 (9)
Sex, male, %616260
Is religious, %b373639
Working experience as family physician, y
 Mean (SD)a19 (9)20 (9)18 (9)
Additional expertise, %
 Received training in palliative carec737572
 Palliative care consultant223
Experiences with VSED, %
 Experience with VSED46100NA
 Experience with VSED in the last year919NA
Palliative sedation in VSED, %
 Has administered palliative sedation in case of VSED2347NA
 Conceivable to administer palliative sedation in case of VSEDa,d,e819073
PAS, %
 Has performed PAS798277
 Conceivable to perform PASd939392
VSED and PAS, %
 Has ever suggested VSED to a patient with a wish for PASa344921
  • NA = not applicable; PAS = physician-assisted suicide; VSED = voluntary stopping of eating and drinking.

  • Note: Missing values ranged from 1.0% to 3.8%, unless otherwise specified.

  • a Significant difference between respondents with experience with VSED and respondents without this experience, calculated by Fisher’s exact test (2-tailed) for dichotomous variables and by independent t test for continuous variables. P <.001 in all cases.

  • b As described by respondent. Religion was Christianity in 93% of cases.

  • c Not including regular curricular training.

  • d Physicians who had done so were categorized under conceivable.

  • e Missing values for 13.1%.