The Edge of Palliative Care: Certainty, But at What Price?
Flinders Journal of Law Reform, 7(1), pp. 225-242, 2004
19 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2016
Date Written: 2004
Section 282A is a relatively short section purporting to do little more than statutorily enshrine an existing common law doctrine to remove doubt and promote certainty. However, the provision goes well beyond confirming the existing law and creates an excuse that is significantly more stringent than the doctrine of double effect. Overall, the reform is a positive one in that it provides greater legal certainty for health care professionals and patients. Concerns about being prosecuted because the law was not clear have been met. However, this certainty comes at a price because s282A also requires greater competence and documentation of those administering palliative care. Health care professionals making dying patients as comfortable as possible must now ensure that the care provided to achieve this is appropriately documented and reasonable in the context of good medical practice.
Keywords: End of life decision-making, Doctrine of double effect, Palliative care
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