Bioethics Blogs

The Impact of the Rasouli Decision: a Survey of Canadian Intensivists

A new survey of Canadian intensivists measures the impact of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 Rasouli decision in favor of the family in a medical futility dispute.

More than half of responding intensivists did not think withdrawing life-sustaining treatment should even require consent.  But in general:

  • More intensivists (indeed a majority in at least some situations) now follow substitute decision makers even when the intensivist judges the requested intervention to be inappropriate.  
  • More intensivists now follow a treatment plan with a higher degree of treatment intensity.  

“Respondents reported providing high levels of self-defined inappropriate treatment. . . .  [T]here was a significant overall shift towards higher intensity and less subjectively appropriate management after the SCC decision.”


The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.