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Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment

Willmott, Lindy, White, Benjamin P., & Then, Shih-Ning (2010) Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment. In White, Benjamin P., McDonald, Fiona, & Willmott, Lindy (Eds.) Health Law in Australia. Thomson Reuters Australia, Sydney, pp. 449-490.

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    Abstract

    • At common law, a competent adult can refuse life-sustaining medical treatment, either contemporaneously or through an advance directive which will operate at a later time when the adult’s capacity is lost. • Legislation in most Australian jurisdictions also provides for a competent adult to complete an advance directive that refuses life-sustaining medical treatment. • At common law, a court exercising its parens patriae jurisdiction can consent to, or authorise, the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining medical treatment from an adult or child who lacks capacity if that is in the best interests of the person. A court may also declare that the withholding or withdrawal of treatment is lawful. • Guardianship legislation in most jurisdictions allows a substitute decision-maker, in an appropriate case, to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment for an adult who lacks capacity. • In terms of children, a parent may refuse life-sustaining medical treatment for his or her child if it is in the child’s best interests. • While a refusal of life-sustaining medical treatment by a competent child may be valid, this decision can be overturned by a court. • At common law and generally under guardianship statutes, demand for futile treatment need not be complied with by doctors.

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    ID Code: 33686
    Item Type: Book Chapter
    Keywords: Health law, Medical law, Adult guardianship, End of life decision-making, Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment
    ISBN: 9780455226798
    Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law not elsewhere classified (180199)
    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 Thomson Reuters Australia
    Deposited On: 04 Aug 2010 07:46
    Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:18

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