A review of the literature on physicians' perceptions of quality of life demonstrates that this is an important factor in medical decision-making for the incurably ill. Research demonstrates that quality of life assessment is a consideration in these complex and highly individualized treatment decisions and that physicians generally judge patient quality of life to be worse than do the patients themselves. Bioethical research in this area is hampered by lack of agreement as to the definition of quality oflife and potential legal implications for physicians involved as subjects. Physician variables such as age, specialty, geographic location, and personal beliefs appear to affect physicians' perceptions of quality of life.
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