Supreme Court rules consent required before ending care

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by doctors at a Toronto hospital who sought to withdraw treatment from Hassan Rasouli, a severely brain-damaged patient who they say has no hope of recovery.

Mr. Rasouli has been in a persistent vegetative state and ventilator dependent since October 2010. After an extensive internal review and discussion with the family, the hospital made the decision that CPR and intensive life support was not the standard of care for patients with this diagnosis, as no prolonged medical benefit could be realized. The family disagreed with this decision.

HPCO, in partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, believes that such situations can best be avoided through advance care planning, including the establishment of a substitute decision-maker who is aware of the patient’s plan. We invite you to learn more about advance care planning, and review free resources through the “Speak Up: Start the conversation about end-of-life care” campaign, available at

For more information, please read Friday’s commentary on the case by eHospice Canada, or review the recent coverage by CTV News.