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.”
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