Monday, January 6, 2014

Hassan Rasouli to be transferred from Sunnybrook Hospital.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Hassan Rasouli
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is pleased that Hassan Rasouli will soon be transferred out of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to the Toronto West Park Healthcare Centre.

Mr. Rasouli was at the center of a precedent setting case that was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada, concerning the issue of whether doctors in Canada are required to obtain consent before withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment.

Doctors at Sunnybrook argued at the Supreme Court of Canada that they were not required to obtain consent before withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (the ventilator) from Mr. Rasouli. The Sunnybrook doctors also argued that Mr. Rasouli was in a Persistent Vegetative State while Mr. Rasouli's wife, who is also a doctor, argued that he was responsive. Independent assessments concluded that Mr. Rasouli's diagnosis was wrong and his condition was upgraded to minimally responsive.


On October 18, the Supreme Court upheld the unanimous decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal requiring doctors to obtain consent from patients or substitute decision-makers before withdrawing life-sustaining treatment where such a decision is anticipated to result in the death of the patient.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) successfully intervened in the Rasouli case at the Ontario Court of Appeal and again at the Supreme Court of Canada.

EPC argued that doctors must obtain consent before withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment and where a disagreement exists, treatment decisions should be decided by the Consent and Capacity board in Ontario. EPC also argued that, in Ontario, medical treatment is defined as part of a treatment plan. Therefore consent is required when withdrawing life-sustaining treatment constitutes a change in a treatment plan.

A Toronto Star article reported that transferring Mr Rasouli out of Sunnybrook hospital is both good and bad for the family. The article stated:

When he is transferred out of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, he will no longer be under the care of doctors who had wanted to remove him from life support. 
But when he becomes a resident of Toronto’s West Park Healthcare Centre, he will have to pay a monthly basic accommodation fee of $1,707, an amount his family says they cannot afford. 
“I cannot afford that. It is too much for us,” said Rasouli’s wife, Parichehr Salasel.  
But, depending on residents’ income, the fee can be dropped, possibly even eliminated. Rate reductions are also available for residents with eligible dependant spouses or children.
Salasel said she is pleased her husband will be moving to West Park because it offers more rehabilitative services. But she said she is concerned about the fee.

3 comments:

Joanne St Pierre said...

If a fund raiser is started for Mr. Rasouli and his family, I would be glad to make a donation or a pledge.

Thanks to Euthanasia Prevention for your continuing good works!!!

God Bless all of you.

Joanne St.Pierre

anna said...

But the battle isn't over. The doctors have a green light to off their patients if they go in front of the Consent and Capacity Board and state a patient is vegetative regardless of the actual condition of the patient himself. You need to take that right away from them andf from the CCB. Noone should be making these kind of decisions for the patient or instead of his own family or his appointed attorney. No one, not the doctors and most certainly not the CCB!

anna said...


Great news and great job you did. However, there still needs to be work done on this issue. No one other than the patient or his family should have a right to decide in these matters, not the doctor and certainly not the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario. I am counting on you Alex to fight the status quo that allows strangers to decide to kill a man against his will or that of his family. I count on you to see that the power to give or withhold consent is strictly contained and limited to the patient, his family or that of the patient’s legally appointed attorney. This power must never be substituted with that of the Consent and Capacity Board, a Court of law or the Genetral Trustee. Present laws must change to protect the patient from imminent death threats. Can you do this Alex?