Determining the Validity of Advance Directives

Posted: 27 Jun 2000

See all articles by Paul Biegler

Paul Biegler

Monash Medical Centre

Cameron Stewart

The University of Sydney Law School

Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford - Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Loane Skene

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

A physician attending an incompetent patient with an acute life-threatening illness and an advance directive (AD) refusing treatment, should ensure that the AD is legally valid prior to making their treatment decision. Treatment against a patient's wishes as expressed in a valid AD compromises patient autonomy and may constitute battery. Conversely, withholding treatment in accordance with an AD that is not legally valid risks substantial harm to the patient and may constitute breach of the duty of care and negligence.

Legally valid directives should be respected. If the AD is not legally valid the patient should be treated in their best interests. If uncertain, the physician should treat according to best interests whilst seeking legal advice. We examine the ethical principles underpinning ADs and the legal duties of doctors in determining their validity.

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Biegler, Paul and Stewart, Cameron Lloyd and Savulescu, Julian and Skene, Loane, Determining the Validity of Advance Directives (2000). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=231931

Paul Biegler (Contact Author)

Monash Medical Centre ( email )

246 Clayton Road
Emergency Dept.
Clayton, VIC 3168
Australia
61 3 9594 2707 (Phone)
61 3 9594 5564 (Fax)

Cameron Lloyd Stewart

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61 2 9351 0250 (Phone)
61 2 9351 0200 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sydney.edu.au/law/about/staff/CameronStewart/index.shtml

Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford - Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics ( email )

10 Merton Street
Oxford OX1 3JP
United Kingdom
+44 1865 276926 (Phone)
+44 1865 276932 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/juliansavulescu.html

Loane Skene

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
931
PlumX Metrics