Withholding and Withdrawing Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment: Who Should Decide?

Book chapter in Ian Freckelton and Kerry Petersen, Tensions and Traumas in Health Law (2017, Federation Press)

Posted: 9 Jan 2018

See all articles by Ben White

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Eliana Close

Queensland University of Technology

Jocelyn Downie

Schulich School of Law & Faculty of Medicine

Date Written: January 4, 2018

Abstract

This chapter begins by considering the context in which disputes about life-sustaining treatment arise and the tensions and traumas they involve. Demographic and cultural shifts around how we die, evolving responses to the concept of ‘medical futility’ and difficulties in predicting death and in determining patient views and wishes all provide a context in which these decisions are made and disputes resolved. We then outline different possible regulatory responses to resolving these disputes before proposing a framework for how they should be regulated, based on values that we believe should be engaged when making decisions about potentially life-sustaining treatment.

Keywords: Medical futility, withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, end of life decision-making

Suggested Citation

White, Ben and Willmott, Lindy and Close, Eliana and Downie, Jocelyn, Withholding and Withdrawing Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment: Who Should Decide? (January 4, 2018). Book chapter in Ian Freckelton and Kerry Petersen, Tensions and Traumas in Health Law (2017, Federation Press). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3096882

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/

Eliana Close

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Jocelyn Downie

Schulich School of Law & Faculty of Medicine ( email )

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

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