SHOULD THE DOCTORS OR THE FAMILY DECIDE ON LIFE OR DEATH?

In October, 2010, Hassan Rasouli suffered severe brain damage.  He has been on a ventilator at Sunny brook Hospital in Toronto ever since.  His doctors see no medical purpose   keepin g him on life support, and propose shifting him to palliative care.  His family disagrees with them.

The courts decided that in this case the life support and the doctors’ proposed palliative care added up to one integrated “treatment package” which required Ms Salasel’s consent.

The patient’s supposed wishes (as articulated by his wife) are indeed important but should they be aan all-powerful criterion?

Does it not seem irrational to complet doctors to continue a treatment they believe to be of no medicalvalue.  On the other hand, given the constant financialpressure on the health-care system, is there a risk that doctors could become biased by their views on how to allocate limited resources, even in matters of life and death. 

How should disputes between doctors and families in end-of-life situations be resolved? The courts are expensive and sometimes cumbersome.

Should PaRLIAMENT legislate a board comprised of lawyers (and retired judges), psychiatrists and members from the general public to adjudicate these life and death situations?

Remember , we all could find ourselves in this predicament.Should the doctors or the family decide on life or death?

What do you think?

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