Consent is not needed in an emergency.
Under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, emergency treatment is medical treatment that is necessary as a matter of urgency to:
- save the person’s life
- prevent serious damage to the person’s health or
- prevent the person from suffering or continuing to suffer significant pain or distress.
Under the Act, emergency treatment must not proceed if:
- the health practitioner is aware that the patient has refused the particular treatment in an instructional directive in an advance care directive
- there is a valid relevant refusal of medical treatment certificate made before 12 March 2018 in accordance with the Medical Treatment Act 1988
In an emergency, a health practitioner is not required to search for an advance care directive that is not readily available.
Read about interpreting an instructional directive.