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Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment : criminal responsibility for established medical practice?

White, Benjamin P., Willmott, Lindy, & Allen, John (2010) Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment : criminal responsibility for established medical practice? Journal of Law and Medicine, 17(5), pp. 849-865.

Abstract

The law recognises the right of a competent adult to refuse medical treatment even if this will lead to death. Guardianship and other legislation also facilitates the making of decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment in certain circumstances. Despite this apparent endorsement that such decisions can be lawful, doubts have been raised in Queensland about whether decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment would contravene the criminal law, and particularly the duty imposed by the Criminal Code (Qld) to provide the “necessaries of life”. This article considers this tension in the law and examines various arguments that might allow for such decisions to be made lawfully. It ultimately concludes, however, that criminal responsibility may still arise and so reform is needed.

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ID Code: 31511
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: End of life decision-making, Withhold and withdraw medical treatment, Life-sustaining treatment, Criminal law, Adult guardianship
ISSN: 1320-159X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law not elsewhere classified (180199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Criminal Law and Procedure (180110)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Lawbook Co./Thomson Reuters
Deposited On: 10 May 2010 07:29
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 10:57

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