Doctors' knowledge of the law on withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment

Nicholas D Buckmaster and Mark Forbes
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01271
Published online: 2 February 2015

To the Editor: Unfortunately, the research performed by White and colleagues1 appears to be flawed by selection bias. This is the result of their failure to survey specialists in general medicine, who regularly make decisions on the withholding and withdrawing of life-sustaining medical treatment. Therefore, the findings of the survey may not accurately reflect real legal understanding among the specialists in our health system most frequently required to make these kinds of decisions. General physicians' patients frequently require careful evaluation of any pre-existing advance care directives, and discussion with statutory health attorneys relating to decisions regarding the provision or withholding of life-sustaining treatment.

  • Nicholas D Buckmaster
  • Mark Forbes

  • Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, QLD.

Competing interests:

Nicholas Buckmaster is past President of the Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand and a current member of its council.


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