Doctors can’t pull plug on their own, court rules

Ontario’s top court has denied doctors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre their wish to unilaterally pull the plug on a patient they deem beyond medical help, a ruling with far-reaching implications for the province’s critically ill.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that doctors must get approval from a provincial medical board when their decision to withdraw life support goes against the wishes of a patient’s family.

The case of 59-year-old Hassan Rasouli, a retired mechanical engineer languishing in what doctors call a vegetative state, marks one of the most important Canadian legal decisions to date in the increasingly contentious debate over who decides whether a patient lives or dies: doctors or families.

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Categories: Health, Law

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