HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Sunday, June 19, 2022

What the Doctor Would Prescribe: Physician Experiences of Providing Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia

Jodhi Rutherford (Australian Centre for Health Law Research), Lindy Willmott (Queensland University of Technology), Ben White (Queensland University of Technology), What the Doctor Would Prescribe: Physician Experiences of Providing Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia, OMEGA: J. Death & Dying (Forthcoming):

Background: Like many countries where voluntary assisted dying (VAD) is legal, eligible doctors in Victoria, Australia, have sole legal authority to provide it. Doctors’ attitudes towards legalised VAD have direct bearing on their willingness to participate in VAD and consequently, on whether permissive laws can effectively facilitate access to VAD. The study aimed to explore how some Victorian doctors are perceiving and experiencing the provision of legalised VAD under a recently commenced law.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 25 Victorian doctors with no in-principle objection to legalised VAD were conducted between July 2019-February 2020. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis. Ethical approval from the relevant institution was obtained.

Results: Doctors perceive or experience VAD to fundamentally challenge traditional medical practice. Barriers to access to VAD derive from applicant, communication, and doctor-related factors. Doctors’ willingness to participate in VAD is situation specific.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2022/06/what-the-doctor-would-prescribe-physician-experiences-of-providing-voluntary-assisted-dying-in-austr.html

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