Supreme Court to hear end of life appeal next week

Since October 2010, Hassan Rasouli has been in a coma at Sunnybrook Hospital after surgery to remove a brain tumour ended in a meningitis infection.

Since October 2010, Hassan Rasouli has been in a coma at Sunnybrook Hospital after surgery to remove a brain tumour ended in a meningitis infection.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) will hear an appeal made by two Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre doctors that argue consent is not need to disconnect end-of-life treatment.

The SCC granted leave to appeal to Hassan Rasouli’s physicians, Brian Cuthbertson and Gordon Rubenfeld, in December of last year.

The decision has the potential to set precedent for end-of-life care decisions in Canada.

Since October 2010, Rasouli has been in a coma at Sunnybrook after surgery to remove a brain tumour ended in a meningitis infection. Mr. Rasouli was diagnosed as being in a “permanent vegetative state” by Cuthbertson and Rubenfeld. Mr. Rasouli was diagnosed as minimally conscious by Sunnybrook neurologist Andrew Lim last January after successfully responding to requests made by his wife to move his fingers and tongue.

Mr. Rasouli’s wife and current primary decision-maker, Parichehr Salasel, has opposed the doctors’ diagnosis, stating that her husband is showing signs of recovery.

The hearing will take place on Monday in Ottawa. A decision is likely not going to be released for weeks.

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