Last summer, I blogged about Hassan Rasouli, who had been in a near-vegetative state since contracting an infection after surgery in October 2010. His doctors had intended to remove life support against the wishes of his wife, who was named as his attorney in Mr. Rasouli’s Power of Attorney for Personal Care. At the time, the Ontario Court of Appeal had ruled that he could not be taken off life support without the consent of his attorney. That decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, and in that case, a doctor has now stated that Mr. Rasouli is minimally conscious and may be paralyzed but aware.
Mr. Rasouli has apparently improved to the point of being in at least a minimally conscious state, and can apparently show a thumbs up when spoken to in Farsi. His family has stated, and this doctor appears to confirm, that this this means that he should be kept on life support until he is able to confirm for himself whether he wants such measures ended.
The debate about end of life care, including about euthanasia, is currently raging on in Canada. This case will surely be an important part of where this area of the law ends up.