Emergency treatment


Consent is not required in an emergency. Proceed with treatment unless you are aware of a refusal in a directive or certificate.

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:

  • you are 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, you are not required to search for an advance care directive that is not readily available.