Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll Finds Over Half of Americans Support Physician-Assisted Suicide for Terminally Ill Patients

Twenty Nine Percent Support in Non-Terminal Cases of Severe Pain, Disability

Ann Arbor, MI and Washington, DC — December 28, 2012 — Over half of Americans continue to support physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients with less than six months to live, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll. Truven Health Analytics was formerly the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

Truven Health Analytics and NPR conduct a monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

The survey asked respondents to share their views on physician-assisted suicide. The results were compared with data compiled from the same poll questions asked a year ago and found that 55 percent of Americans support physician-assisted suicide in the case of a terminally ill patient with less than six months to live – the same proportion of those who supported it a year ago. Of those who said they did not support physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, 23 percent said a physician should be allowed to provide the patient’s family members with the means to end the patient’s life if requested by the patient or family, up slightly from 2011.

When asked their thoughts on physician-assisted suicide in cases when a patient is experiencing severe pain or severe disability, but is not terminally ill, 29 percent said they supported physician-assisted suicide – unchanged from 2011. Twenty eight percent of respondents who did not support physician-assisted suicide for patients experiencing severe pain or disability said a physician should be allowed to provide patients or their family members with the means to end the patient’s life if requested by the patient or family – a slight decrease from 29 percent in 2011.

“As medical science advances, it is becoming more capable of maintaining a life, even perhaps beyond the wishes of the patient and their family,” said Raymond Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “While this subject is difficult to discuss, it will be increasingly relevant as time passes.”

To date, the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food allergies, and organic and genetically modified foods. NPR's reports on the surveys are archived online at the Shots health blog here.

Truven Health Analytics maintains a library of poll results here.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health PULSESM Healthcare Survey, the nation’s largest and longest-running independently funded, nationally representative telephone poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 US households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR. The figures in this month's poll are based on 3,017 participants interviewed from July 1-13, 2011 and 3,006 participants interviewed from October 1-11, 2012. The margin of error is 1.8 percent.

About Truven Health Analytics
Truven Health Analytics, formerly the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters, delivers unbiased information, analytic tools, benchmarks, and services to the healthcare industry. Hospitals, government agencies, employers, health plans, clinicians, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies have relied on us for more than 30 years. We combine our deep clinical, financial, and healthcare management expertise with innovative technology platforms and information assets to make healthcare better by collaborating with our customers to uncover and realize opportunities for improving quality, efficiency, and outcomes. With more than 2,000 employees globally, we have major offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chicago; and Denver. Advantage Suite, Micromedex, ActionOI, MarketScan, and 100 Top Hospitals are registered trademarks or trademarks of Truven Health Analytics. For more information, please visit

About NPR
NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public - one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

Brian Erni
For Truven Health Analytics
J. Roderick, Inc. Public Relations

Anna Christopher
Director, Media