Bioethics Blogs

Patient Rights to Demand Non-Beneficial Treatment in Ontario

University of New Brunswick law professor Hilary Young has a vivid description of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Cuthbertson v. Rasouli.  

“The Court took a novel approach, requiring physicians sometimes to provide life-sustaining treatment contrary to their conscientious professional discretion.”

“What is important to understand is that patients or their SDMs can effectively demand treatment – even harmful treatment – by refusing consent to the treatment being withheld. That is, by requiring consent for withholding or withdrawing treatment, the Court created a de facto entitlement to treatment.”

“What’s more, the Court found this to be the case even where the treatment in question is: harmful, contrary to physicians’ conscientious professional discretion, or contrary to the standard of care.”

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.