Brian Cuthbertson, et al. v. Hassan Rasouli by his Litigation Guardian and Substitute Decision Maker, Parichehr Salasel

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Legislation Interpretation Health Care Withdrawal of life sustaining medical treatment Whether patient consent is required to withhold or withdraw non indicated treatment Whether consent is required to withdraw non indicated treatment if other positive treatment is to be administered upon the withdrawal of the non indicated treatment Where there is a category of life sustaining medical treatments that cannot be withdrawn or withheld without patient or substitute decision-maker consent, even where the treatment is non indicated In the event a physician concludes that a current treatment has become a non indicated treatment, despite prolonging life, what steps is a physician obliged to take before withdrawing the non indicated treatment?

The respondent is in a coma. The appellants, who are his physicians, seek to withdraw life sustaining treatment and to administer palliative care. The respondent’s substitute decision-maker under the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 2, refuses to consent to withdrawing life sustaining treatment. The appellants acknowledge that they require consent to administer palliative care but they believe that they do not need consent to withdraw life sustaining measures that are no longer medically indicated. At issue is whether the appellants require consent or a determination from the Consent and Capacity Board that withdrawing life support is in the respondent’s best interests.

Lower Court Rulings

March 9, 2011
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

CV-11-419611, 2011 ONSC 1500
Ordered to refer proposal to end medical treatment to Consent and Capacity Board; Order that mechanical ventilation may not be withdrawn and applicant may not be transferred to palliative care pending a decision by the Board
June 29, 2011
Court of Appeal for Ontario

C53442, 2011 ONCA 482
Appeal dismissed