Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supreme Court begins 'right-to-die' hearing

Wife of engineer refuses to change treatment of vegetative husband because of her right to life views
The Supreme Court of Canada building.
The B.C. Catholic has Deborah Gyapong's coverage of a Supreme Court of Canada's hearing of the Rasouli case, which could determine whether doctors or families will have the choice over life-sustaining treatment:
Hassan Rasouli, 60, is a former engineer who came to Canada in 2010 with his family. That year, he received brain surgery in a Toronto hospital to remove a benign brain tumor removed but contracted meningitis that caused brain damage.

At first his doctors treated him with antibiotics and put him on a ventilator. But when his condition did not seem to improve, and his doctors determined he was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) with no hope of recovery, they wanted to remove the life-sustaining ventilator and begin palliative care.

Rasouli’s wife, who had been a doctor in Iran, refused permission for the change in treatment, citing their devout Shia Muslim beliefs about the sanctity of life. Rasouli’s condition has since improved to a minimally conscious state (MCS) where some brain waves and responses are detected.

“Since this case has arisen at a time when some in our society are aggressively advocating for access to euthanasia and assisted suicide, we need to ask ourselves what will happen if doctors are given the right to decide unilaterally what treatments are to be employed or withdrawn,” said Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) director Michele Boulva. “What, for instance, would prevent a doctor ‘soft’ on euthanasia from withdrawing ordinary treatment such as nutrition and hydration?”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

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