Futility and the Law: Knowledge, Practice and Attitudes of Doctors in End of Life Care
QUT Law Review, Vol. 16(1), Pp. 54-75, 2016
22 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016 Last revised: 23 Aug 2016
Date Written: 2016
Despite the potential harm to patients (and others) and the financial cost of providing futile treatment at the end of life, this practice occurs. This article reports on empirical research undertaken in Queensland that explores doctors’ perceptions about the law that governs futile treatment at the end of life, and the role it plays in medical practice. The findings reveal that doctors have poor knowledge of their legal obligations and powers when making decisions about withholding or withdrawing futile treatment at the end of life; their attitudes towards the law were largely negative; and the law affected their clinical practice and had or would cause them to provide futile treatment.
Keywords: Medical Law, Health Law, Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment, Futile Treatment, Futility, Doctors' Knowledge of Law, Doctors Attitudes to Law
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