Next Up: A Proposal for Values-Based Law Reform on Unilateral Withholding and Withdrawal of Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment

Jocelyn Downie, Lindy Willmott, Ben P White

Abstract


The unilateral withholding and withdrawal of potentially life-sustaining treatment presents a complex issue of law and public policy. The authors examine the current state of this practice and conclude that it is occurring, being challenged in the courts, and is treated differently in different jurisdictions. The authors review the current state of the law in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. The authors use Canada as a case study to outline a process for pursuing law reform. The authors propose a model for law and policy reform in this area that is both informed and shaped by the fundamental values of Canadian society.

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