Hassan Rasouli underwent a routine surgery for a brain tumor in the summer of 2010 and has been in a persistent vegetative state (PSV) since then. The Toronto hospital team caring for him wants to remove the ventilator keeping him alive, saying that the cost associated with keeping him alive risks depriving others of medical intervention. Costs for caring for him in the hospital’s intensive care unit are as much as $2000 a day. The family is taking the case all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court. Americans will remember our own similar case with the Schiavo family which went all the way to the American Supreme Court and finally terminated in Terri Schiavo’s death on March 31, 2005. Read the story about Hassan Rasouli here.
Once again, the lesson is that family members can tie a case up in court if you haven’t made your end-of-life decisions known. What makes Rasouli’s case interesting is that just last week in a medical breakthrough in Ontario, doctors were able to receive care instructions from another patient diagnosed as PSV based on brainwave analysis of the patient.
The best way to make sure you have your end-of-life wishes carried out is by having a living will and appointing someone you trust with the responsibility and authority to ensure those wishes are carried out.