Two thirds of Britons would want doctors to pull the plug if they were on a life support machine

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 17, 2017, 10:02 AM GMT+0

The youngest Brits are the most keen to be kept on life support

Reports emerged in the media this week that legal complications have resulted in a brain-damaged patient being kept alive on life-support against the wishes of his family and doctors.

The prospect of having life sustained artificially has been a regular enough feature in popular culture that many Britons will have grappled with whether or not they themselves would want to have their life sustained by such means.

Now new YouGov Omnibus research reveals that nearly two thirds (65%) of Brits would want their doctors to pull the plug if they were in a coma on a life support machine and doctors didn’t think they were likely to ever regain consciousness.

Only 14% would want to be kept on life support in the hope that one day they would regain consciousness. A similar proportion (17%) didn’t know whic option they would prefer, while a final 4% opted not to answer the question.

The biggest difference in attitudes is between the age groups. Perhaps understandably, 18-24 year-olds are the most keen to stay on life-support, with a quarter (25%) opting to do so. This figure falls with each age group to only 10% of those aged 65 or older. Nevertheless, 18-24 year olds are still almost twice as likely to say they would want to be allowed to die (47%) as they are to want to stay on life support.

Photo: Getty

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