Uncomfortable bedfellows: Queensland criminal law and patients' rights to refuse life-sustaining treatment

Shircore, Mandy, and Barrett, Malcolm (2009) Uncomfortable bedfellows: Queensland criminal law and patients' rights to refuse life-sustaining treatment. James Cook University Law Review, 16. pp. 90-121.

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The publicity given to the request by a Western Australian man with quadriplegia to have artificial nutrition and hydration withdrawn so he could end his life, highlights the moral and legal dilemmas inherent in end-of-life decision making. In ruling that the withdrawal of the life-sustaining measures by the health provider would be lawful, the Supreme Court of Western Australia carefully analysed the potential application of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). The relevant provisions include recent amendments aimed at addressing the question of a medical professional's criminal responsibility for withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. To date the Queensland legislature has not followed the Western Australian lead, despite suggestions by the Queensland Guardianship and Administration Tribunal that the intersection between the criminal law and the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld) requires clarification. This paper considers whether, pursuant to Queensland criminal law, health professionals could be held criminally responsible for complying with a patient's request to withdraw life-sustaining measures, and accordingly whether amendments should be made to the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld).

Item ID: 15767
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1321-1072
Keywords: criminal law, patients' rights
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Reproduced with permission from James Cook University Law Review.

Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2011 04:15
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940406 Legal Processes @ 100%
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