In a study conducted in Switzerland it was seen that the frequency of withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging treatment at the end of a patient's life varies greatly among European countries. The study also showed that modern medicine provided unprecedented opportunities in diagnostics and treatment to save and sustain life. However, in some situations at the end of a patient's life, physicians may refrain from using all possible measures to prolong life.
To study the different types of treatment withheld or withdrawn from patients, researchers sent physicians questionnaires about their decision-making process of the treatment. Physicians were asked whether or not they withheld or withdrew medical treatment and if so, what kind of treatment was it?
On analyzing the results of the questionnaire it was found that decisions not to treat were reported for 41 percent of deaths in Switzerland, 30 percent in the Netherlands, 27 percent in Belgium, 23 percent in Denmark, 22 percent in Sweden, and 6 percent in Italy and in all of the countries except Italy, medicine was the treatment most forgone.
Thus in conclusion researchers say based on their findings it was seen that low-technology interventions, such as medication or hydration or nutrition, were the most frequently forgone.