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

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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11673-020-09994-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,916
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

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.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Charlie Gard: In Defence of the Law.Eliana Close, Lindy Willmott & Benjamin P. White - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (7):476-480.
Death by Non-Feeding: Not in the Baby's Best Interests.Helga Kuhse - 1986 - Journal of Medical Humanities 7 (2):79-90.
Heuristics and Life-Sustaining Treatments.Adam Feltz & Stephanie Samayoa - 2012 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (4):443-455.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,476,459 of 2,433,174 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #462,722 of 2,433,174 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes