Supreme Court To Release Landmark Ruling On Whether Doctors Can Unilaterally Terminate Life Support Without Patient Consent - Rasouli V. Cuthbertson.

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court is set to release, tomorrow, its decision in a landmark case that will determine if doctors must obtain consent before removing life support from a patient.

In this case, doctors refused to obtain consent before deciding to terminate life support and they refused to apply to the Consent and Capacity Board, the body charged with oversight, in Ontario of such matters.

The family was forced to apply for a Court injunction to stop the withdrawal of life support to Mr. Rasouli.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in this case to support the need for oversight of doctors in addressing life and death decisions.

In this case, Mr. Rasouli was also misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. In fact, he was conscious and able to communicate as his family had suggested throughout.

"The case raises fundamental questions about the need for oversight with respect to critical treatment decisions at the end of life", says Hugh Scher, the Toronto lawyer that represented EPC at the hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada.

"There is a real concern about the impact of economic considerations, accuracy of diagnosis and the critical role of patient autonomy in the making of treatment decisions", says Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of EPC

"We hope the Supreme Court upholds the oversight responsibility of the Consent and Capacity Board and ensures that patient values, beliefs and best interests are given prominence, in conjunction with the clinical considerations of doctors", says Scher.

The Supreme Court will likely lay down a set of guiding principles relative to such end of life situations and provide direction in the process of making critical medical treatment decisions.

SOURCE: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For further information:

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition spokespersons:
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115 / hugh@sdlaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434 / info@epcc.ca

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Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

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