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The doctrine of double effect

White, Benjamin P. & Willmott, Lindy (2010) The doctrine of double effect. In White, Benjamin P., McDonald, Fiona, & Willmott, Lindy (Eds.) Health Law in Australia. Thomson Reuters Australia, Sydney, pp. 491-506.

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    • The doctrine of double effect is an exception to the general rule that taking active steps that end life is unlawful. • The essence of the doctrine at common law is intention. • Hastening a patient’s death through palliative care will be lawful provided the primary intention is to relieve pain, and not cause death, even if that death is foreseen. • Some States have enacted legislative excuses that deal with the provision of palliative care. • These statutory excuses tend to be stricter than the common law as they impose other requirements in addition to having an appropriate intent, such as adherence to some level of recognised medical practice.

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    ID Code: 33687
    Item Type: Book Chapter
    Additional URLs:
    Keywords: Health law, Medical law, Palliative care, Doctrine of double effect, End of life decision-making
    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 Thomas Reuters Australia
    Deposited On: 04 Aug 2010 07:51
    Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:18

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