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Canadian doctors ask court to clarify who has authority in end of life situations

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3348 (Published 10 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3348
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

Canada’s Supreme Court will next week consider an appeal from two Canadian doctors who seek, against a family’s objections, to withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient they originally diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, but whom they now describe as minimally conscious.

Hassan Rasouli, 60, a retired Iranian born engineer, contracted bacterial meningitis in late 2010 after surgery to remove a brain tumour, and has since been on mechanical ventilation at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. All parties agree, however, that he is no longer in a vegetative state and has repeatedly given the thumbs up at his wife’s request.

A year ago, Rasouli’s doctors …

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