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
Date Written: 2012
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
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