A perfect storm: fear of litigation for end of life care

Geoffrey K Mitchell, Lindy Willmott, Ben P White, Donella Piper, David C Currow and Patsy M Yates
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50164
Published online: 3 June 2019

Should doctors fear legal sanction for using opioids at the end of life?

A perfect storm arises from a rare confluence of adverse meteorological factors, and is a metaphor for an especially bad situation caused by a combination of unfavourable circumstances ( Health care at the end of life has been significantly disturbed by two converging fronts. The first is very public conversations relating to opioid overuse. The second is the current tension between standard end‐of‐life care and voluntary assisted suicide.

  • 1 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD
  • 3 University of New England, Armidale, NSW
  • 4 University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 5 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD



This study was funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (APP1061254).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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