In reply: The survey by Douglas et al1 indicated that, under the current criminal code, about one in three Australian general surgeons are at risk of prosecution for murder because of the way they treat their dying patients. It is likely that many other Australian doctors are similarly at risk of prosecution. This is a serious problem that raises important questions: Why are so many doctors breaking the law? Should these practices be kept covert or brought out into the open for audit and discussion? Is the law serving the needs and interests of dying patients, those who care for them, and the wider community?
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