Rasouli and the Elephant in the Room

Colleen M. Flood & Catherine Deans, “Rasouli and the Elephant in the Room” (2013) Impact Ethics.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has now released its judgment in the Rasouli proceedings with striking differences between the majority and minority decisions. Mr Rasouli was diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state and his treating physicians, believing he had no further prospect of recovery, wished to withdraw life support. The applicability of Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act was at the heart of the Supreme Court decision and, more specifically, whether the withdrawal of life support was “treatment” requiring the consent of Mr. Rasouli’s wife (who opposed withdrawal). The challenge for the Court was to strike a balance between clinical autonomy and patient autonomy and, through this, show respect for the beliefs and values of Mr. Rasouli and his family.”

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