Bioethics Blogs

Alberta Tribunal Decision Approves Unilateral DNAR Order

A recent decision from Alberta highlights some differences between Alberta and Ontario regarding the need for clinicians to obtain consent before withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment.

Anita Tran filed a complaint with the Alberta medical board regarding the treatment of her 96-year-old mother at Royal Alexandra Hospital. Clinicians had determined that the patient: (1) was not a dialysis candidate, (2) was not a candidate for the ICU, and (3) should have a DNR order.  Tran alleges these actions were taken without permission. Indeed, it seems clear that the DNR order was written NOT on the basis of consent but instead on the basis it would not be medically effective.

Tran’s complaint was dismissed. That dismissal was affirmed by the Court of Queen’s Bench. It was apparently sufficient that clinicians “advised” Tran of the DNR.  This sounds like the rule in the UK.

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.