Court-ordered life?


A few weeks ago, I blogged about Hassan Rasouli, a mechanical engineer in Toronto who fell into a coma after contracting bacterial meningitis during surgery to remove a brain tumour. His wife, Parichehr Salasel, ended up in a long dispute with his doctors, who wanted to remove him from life support. She believed that there was a hope of recovery, and insisted that he be kept on life support. The doctors went to court to get permission to unilaterally remove life support. They were unsuccessful at trial, and on Wednesday last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal sided with Parichehr .

The court determined that removal of life support constituted “treatment” under the Health Care Consent Act. It also determined that withdrawing life support was a necessary step in commencing palliative care, which the doctors had agreed required the consent of Hassan’s wife. Therefore, the court’s ultimate decision was that Parichehr’s consent was required to end Hassan’s life support, a decision that will likely have far-reaching effects in the medical community.

You can see the decision, Rasouli v. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, here.