Hassan's Story

In October 2010, on a day that seemed like any other, my father, Hassan Rasouli was scheduled to undergo an elective brain surgery in Sunnybrook Hospital to remove a benign tumor. Things then turned for the worst as he contracted “bacterial meningitis” due to a hospital infection, lack of prompt attention and he fell into a coma. After just 3 weeks doctors wanted to take him off the life support. My family refused, believing there were signs of recovery and doctor’s decision and diagnoses was premature. But Sunnybrook medical professionals decided to go on with their decision unless my family managed to acquire a court order indicating otherwise.

After the court proceedings started and the hospital’s decision to end my father’s life was put on hold, his medical condition was upgraded to “minimally conscious.” He has given thumbs up sign when requested, played with balls, tracked movies and pictures with his eyes and seems to be trying to communicate. Surprisingly, in January 2011, I found Dr. Adrian Owen’s research at the University of Western Ontario that indicated patients in Vegetate State are able to communicate with their surroundings. My father is one of them. Dr. Adrian Owen’s research team also reexamined my father and confirmed that he is in minimally conscious state.

If doctors are given the unilateral right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment without the consent of the family or the patient, then in some cases such as the may father’s case doctors could become the sole decision makers over people’s basic right to life. The Rasouli case is currently being heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, December 10th, 2012 which will rule on the intricate details of the legality of withdrawing life-sustaining equipment in the case of a patient such as Mr. Rasouli.

Mozhgan Rasouli