Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (3):407-421 (2020)

Abstract
BackgroundThis paper investigates the content of Australian policies that address withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment to analyse the guidance they provide to doctors about the allocation of resources.MethodsAll publicly available non-institutional policies on withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment were identified, including codes of conduct and government and professional organization guidelines. The policies that referred to resource allocation were isolated and analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Eight Australian policies addressed both withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and resource allocation.ResultsFour resource-related themes were identified: doctors’ ethical duties to consider resource allocation; balancing ethical obligations to patient and society; fair process and transparent resource allocation; and legal guidance on distributive justice as a rationale to limit life-sustaining treatment.ConclusionOf the policies that addressed resource allocation, this review found broad agreement about the existence of doctors’ duties to consider the stewardship of scarce resources in decision-making. However, there was disparity in the guidance about how to reconcile competing duties to patient and society. There is a need to better address the difficult and confronting issue of the role of scarce resources in decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
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DOI 10.1007/s11673-020-09994-7
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References found in this work BETA

Why It's Not Time for Health Care Rationing.Peter A. Ubel - 2015 - Hastings Center Report 45 (2):15-19.

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Citations of this work BETA

No Man (or Woman) Is an Island?Michael A. Ashby - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (3):315-317.

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