Autonomy versus Futility? Barriers to Good Clinical Practice in End-of-Life Care: A Queensland Case

Medical Journal of Australia, 196(6), pp. 404-405, 2012

7 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2016 Last revised: 23 Aug 2016

See all articles by Sean Lawrence

Sean Lawrence

Queensland Health

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Eleanor Milligan

Griffith University

Sarah Winch

University of Queensland

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Findings from a Queensland coronial inquest highlight the complex clinical, ethical and legal issues that arise in end-of-life care when clinicians and family members disagree about a diagnosis of clinical futility.

The tension between the law and best medical practice is highlighted in this case, as doctors are compelled to seek family consent to not commence a futile intervention.

Good communication between doctors and families, as well as community and professional education, is essential to resolve tensions that can arise when there is disagreement about treatment at the end of life.

Keywords: Medical futility, End of life decision-making, Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, Adult guardianship law, Health communication, Medical ethics, Health law

Suggested Citation

Lawrence, Sean and Willmott, Lindy and Milligan, Eleanor and Winch, Sarah and White, Ben and Parker, Malcolm, Autonomy versus Futility? Barriers to Good Clinical Practice in End-of-Life Care: A Queensland Case (2012). Medical Journal of Australia, 196(6), pp. 404-405, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806818

Sean Lawrence

Queensland Health ( email )

147-163 Charlotte Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/willmott/

Eleanor Milligan

Griffith University ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

Sarah Winch

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Ben White (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/whiteb/

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine ( email )

St Lucia
Queensland 4072
Australia

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