Treatment contrary to Advance Care Directive.

Miichael Eburn has drawn attention to the Record of Investigation into Death (Without Inquest) in respect of Kylie Anne Breen, from the Coronial Division of the Magistrates Court of Tasmania (2 September 2020) which is available on the Court’s website.

The decision is of interest as about 12 months before her death, Ms Breen had put in place with her general practitioner an Advance Care Directive for Care at End of Life. A copy of this document was given to the Launceston General Hospital for inclusion on her medical record to inform any future treatment and care.

Ms Breen’s initial medical intervention at the hospital arguably took place contrary to her request expressed in the ACD. That document was not initially known or accessed by hospital staff and, when it was sighted, the treating doctor was reluctant to cease medical intervention. However, after further consideration of the terms of the ACD and consultation with the family, active treatment ceased.

A coronial recommendation was made that all hospitals in this state take any necessary steps to ensure that a patient’s ACD is readily accessible within the patient’s medical records so that timely compliance with a patient’s wishes as expressed in this document can be achieved when the circumstances arise.