Title

The legal role of medical professionals in decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment: Part 1 (New South Wales)

Document Type

Article

Publication details

White, B, Willmott, L, Trowse, P, Parker, M & Cartwright, C 2011, '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, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 498-522.

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

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.