The Legal Role of Medical Professionals in Decisions to Withhold or Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment: Part 1 (New South Wales)

Journal of Law and Medicine, 18(3), pp. 498-522, 2011

Posted: 10 Jul 2016

See all articles by Ben White

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Pip Trowse

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine

Colleen Cartwright

Southern Cross University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

This is the first article in a series of three that examines the legal role of medical professionals in decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from adults who lack capacity. This article considers the position in New South Wales. A review of the law in this State reveals that medical professionals play significant legal roles in these decisions. However, the law is problematic in a number of respects and this is likely to impede medical professionals’ legal knowledge in this area. The article examines the level of training medical professionals receive on issues such as advance directives and substitute decision-making, and the available empirical evidence as to the state of medical professionals’ knowledge of the law at the end of life. It concludes that there are gaps in legal knowledge and that law reform is needed in New South Wales.

Keywords: End of life decision-making, Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment, Doctors knowledge of law, Doctors compliance with law, Adult guardianship, Substitute decision-making, Advance directives

Suggested Citation

White, Ben and Willmott, Lindy and Trowse, Pip and Parker, Malcolm and Cartwright, Colleen, The Legal Role of Medical Professionals in Decisions to Withhold or Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment: Part 1 (New South Wales) (2011). Journal of Law and Medicine, 18(3), pp. 498-522, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806828

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/

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/

Pip Trowse

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

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

Malcolm Parker

University of Queensland - School of Medicine ( email )

St Lucia
Queensland 4072
Australia

Colleen Cartwright

Southern Cross University ( email )

Lismore, New South Wales 2480
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
97
PlumX Metrics