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Nancy B. v. Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dominion law reports
Publication Date
Jan 06, 1992
Volume
86
Pages
385–395
Identifiers
PMID: 12041074
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The Superior Court of Quebec granted an injunction permitting a physician and hospital to remove a respirator from Nancy B., a young woman suffering from an incurable neurological disease. Guillain-Barré syndrome had left Nancy B. incapable of movement, including respiration, although her mental capacities remained unaltered. After a psychological evaluation, including a determination of sanity, Nancy B. continued to persist in her objections to life-sustaining treatment, i.e., use of the respirator. The court held that a patient's right to consent or withhold consent to any medical process has been recognized throughout legal history. Further supporting its decision, the court cited other jurisdictions that have granted permission to cease life-sustaining treatment in similar situations. Although Nancy B. would have remained alive for some time with the help of a respirator, she soundly determined and expressed that this quality of life was not of her choosing. The court further concluded that her imminent death would be considered a natural occurrence and would not carry any criminal culpability for the doctor or hospital.

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