Comfort for doctors and patients alike – The Globe and Mail

A good piece laying out the issues on the Hassan Rasouli case (a man in vegetative state that doctors wish to move to palliative care while the family wishes to maintain the hope that Rasouli will bounce back). Never easy to codify these cases, even from a process perspective, and hard for families to know when to let go. Quote:

Doctors are required to use the means available to them to care for individual patients in the patients’ best interests. Even when responsible for the care of several patients dependent on the same resources, they must give priority to the patient with whom they’re immediately engaged. They can’t sacrifice the interests of that patient to preserve resources that may benefit another patient. Equally, however, they can’t indulge that patient with treatment they believe is futile or extravagant. Their fear of being required to accommodate the unrealistic hopes of patients or their families justifies more relief than the Court of Appeal offered.

The Supreme Court faces the challenge of providing comfort, to doctors and patients alike, that health-care resources will not legally have to be deployed with no realistic prospect of benefit. The alternative is trusting that provincial legislatures can resolve competing interests of doctors required to practise to professional standards, and patients wanting the care they believe will benefit them, with greater clarity than the legislation at the centre of this appeal achieved.

Comfort for doctors and patients alike – The Globe and Mail.


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