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Abstract

Although the decision to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration from Terri Schiavo attracted an enormous amount of international publicity, from a legal perspective the decision was unsurprising. This article explores this view by comparing the law that governs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment in Florida where the Schiavo decision was made, and the equivalent law in Queensland. It concludes that although the legislation is expressed in different terms, the same decision would be reached if a case similar to Terri Schiavo’s arose in Queensland. Indeed, it is suggested that this conclusion is also likely to be reached in other common law jurisdictions.

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