Australian bill permits causing patient death, lacks adequate conscience protection

The House of Assembly in the Parliament of South Australia has passed the Advanced Care Directives Bill (2012), which defines medical treatment and health care so as to include nutrition and hydration, and makes it possible for nutrition and hydration to be refused or denied even to patient who isnot dying.  The  protection of conscience provision in the bill requires objectors to facilitate the withdrawal of food and fluids by providing contact information for someone willing to do so, and to refer the patient to that person if requested. The bill also allows patient directives to override denominational or institutional codes of conduct governing the delivery of health care. [The Australian]