Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in a patient's best interests : Australian judicial deliberations

Willmott, Lindy, White, Ben, Smith, Malcolm K., & Wilkinson, Dominic J. C. (2014) Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in a patient's best interests : Australian judicial deliberations. Medical Journal of Australia, 201(9), pp. 545-547.

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Abstract

•Intractable disputes about withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from adults who lack capacity are rare but challenging. Judicial resolution may be needed in some of these cases.

•A central concept for judicial (and clinical) decision making in this area is a patient's “best interests”. Yet what this term means is contested.

•There is an emerging Supreme Court jurisprudence that sheds light on when life-sustaining treatment will, or will not, be judged to be in a patient's best interests.

•Treatment that is either futile or overly burdensome is not in a patient's best interests. Although courts will consider patient and family wishes, they have generally deferred to the views of medical practitioners about treatment decisions.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
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6 citations in Web of Science®

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66 since deposited on 29 Oct 2014
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ID Code: 78076
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Health law, Medical law, End of life decision-making, Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, Best interests, Parens patriae jurisdiction, Futility
DOI: 10.5694/mja13.10874
ISSN: 1326-5377
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems) (180120)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100) > Medical Ethics (220106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Law
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 MJA Group Australia
Deposited On: 29 Oct 2014 00:01
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2015 18:10

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