ASBH represents the intersection of bioethics and humanities. It is a crossroads where we celebrate multiple disciplines and practices and professions. It is a place characterized by creative expression of every dimension of the human experience, including both suffering and healing.
This meeting offers an opportunity to explore this space in the spirit of collegiality and inclusion, and we welcome proposals on the theme of “ethics and creative expression” and others in every submission category.
The Managing Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine interviewed me about the piece I wrote, with David Comerford and Eric Johnson, on redesigning the health insurance exchanges. For those of you with long commutes, here is that podcast: … Continue reading →
Here is a nice follow-up story on my recent New England Journal article on improving the design of health insurance exchanges. Comparing health insurance plans – whether signing up through Healthcare.gov or weighing employer-sponsored plans with a spouse – can … Continue reading →
by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.
Atul Gawande: “I came on board after she got diagnosed with that second cancer. And in my mind I was thinking ‘I wouldn’t offer this surgery because the lung cancer is going to take her life.’ And yet I didn’t feel I could say that to you. I think we started talking about the experimental therapy that you all were hoping to get on with the trial for the lung caner. And remember saying something I sort of regret, which was that ‘maybe that sort of experimental therapy will work for the thyroid cancer too.’ [laughs and shakes head] I said that.…
In October, 2010, Mr. Rasouli suffered debilitating complications following surgery at Sunnybrook Hospital. He was kept alive by mechanical ventilation. Physicians Brian Cuthbertson, Gordon Rubenfeld and Richard Swartz recommended the withdrawal of mechanical ventilation from Mr. Rasouli. His family opposed that decision.
As a result of that disagreement, two applications were commenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – one by the Rasouli family and one by the physicians – over the issue of whether the physicians required the consent of Ms. Salasel, her husband’s substitute decision-maker, or the approval of the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB), to withdraw the life-sustaining measures from Mr. Rasouli. Those cases proceeded to the Supreme Court of Canada which, in its October, 2013 decision, held that the physicians were required to seek Ms. Salasel’s consent to the withdrawal of the life-sustaining measures, failing which there had to be a ruling by the CCB
In January 2013, the family commenced a separate action. In it, they sought $1 million in special damages and $1 million in general, aggravated and punitive damages for intimidation, assault, negligence, abuse of process, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The Statement of Claim specifies that the special damages sought consist of the approximately $500,000 in legal fees spent “to keep Hassan alive”. Mr. Rasoui's wife and two children also sought $250,000 each for the intentional infliction of mental suffering.
In May 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice denied these claims, since they were already adjudicated in the case that went to the Supreme Court. On Friday, February 20, the Court of Appeal agreed.