Exploring the Positions of German and Israeli Patient Organizations in the Bioethical Context of End-of-Life Policies

Health Care Analysis 22 (2):143-159 (2014)
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Abstract

Patient organizations are increasingly involved in national and international bioethical debates and health policy deliberations. In order to examine how and to what extent cultural factors and organizational contexts influence the positions of patient organizations, this study compares the positions of German and Israeli patient organizations (POs) on issues related to end-of-life medical care. We draw on a qualitative pilot study of thirteen POs, using as a unit of analysis pairs comprised of one German PO and one Israeli PO that were matched on the basis of organizational category. Bioethical positions that emanated from the interviews concerned advance directives—general views, recent legal framework, and formalization; as well as active and passive euthanasia, withholding and withdrawing of treatment, and physician-assisted suicide. In addition to the unifying, within-country impact of cultural factors, we found that constituency-based organizations and partner organizations in both countries often share common views, whereas disease-based support organizations have very heterogeneous positions. We conclude by discussing how organizational contexts provide a source of uniformity as well as diversity in the positions of POs

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