Bioethics expert available to media about upcoming judgement in Hassan Rasouli case

With the Supreme Court of Canada scheduled to render its judgement in the Brian Cuthbertson, et. al. v. Hassan Rasouli case on Friday (October 18) morning, a bioethics expert from Western University is available for media commentary.

Charles Weijer, the Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and a Member of Western’s Rotman Institute of Philosophy, says, “The Hassan Rasouli case involves an important conflict between the authority of physicians and the authority of patients and their families. Who decides when it is appropriate to withdraw life-sustaining therapy?

“Though the physicians in this case claim that the patient’s case is hopeless and there is no realistic hope of medical recovery, the family believes that mechanical ventilation is keeping him alive and that his condition may improve.

“It is not really a dispute about medical facts, but about what kind of life is worth preserving and who in the end decides.”

Weijer, who has collaborated with noted Western neuroscientist Adrian Owen, has published a number of articles regarding life-sustaining treatment, vegetative state patients and conflicts between physicians and families, including the Terri Shiavo case.

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.