Posted on September 3, 2019 at 4:00 AM
Elizabeth Wawrzyniak has spent years litigating with clinicians over the death of her father Douglas DeGuerre in 2008.
After numerous appeals and remands Wawrzyniak finally got the Ontario College to impose some discipline on the physicians who wrote a DNR order without her consent. But at the end of August 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed her lawsuit for money damages.
In a key paragraph, the judge writes: “A person does not have a common law right or entitlement which would compel a doctor to offer and, if consent is given, administer a treatment that the doctor has decided would be medically inappropriate or contrary to the professional standard of care.”
The judge continues: “At common law, Dr. Livingstone and Dr. Chapman were not required to obtain the plaintiff’s consent (as the person authorized to give or refuse consent to medical treatment on her father’s behalf) before making the medical decision not to offer CPR as a treatment option for Mr. DeGuerre and writing and acting on the DNR order.”
Furthermore, the judge determined that even had the physician’s breached a duty, Wawrzyniak could not establish causation. Even had CPR been administered, it probably would not have worked.