Ameena Sultan Participates in End of Life Decisions Conference

TORONTO - February 13, 2007 - Health care professionals from hospital intensive care units across Ontario convened at the Toronto General Hospital today for a one-day conference on End of Life Decision-Making led by Dr. Laura Hawryluck, associate professor of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

The day was structured around a scenario where a fictional patient’s family was making decisions the care team deemed to be against the patient’s best interests.  Over the course of the day, participants in the session either observed or participated in a series of family meetings and addressed the patient’s prognosis, treatment, capacity and potential for recovery.  The care team was made up of real doctors and nurses, and the family was played by actors. Emphasis was placed on section 21 of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 which requires that decision makers make choices that are in the best interests of the patient, even if this is contrary to the decision makers’ preferences.

The conference culminated with a mock Consent and Capacity Board hearing in which Ameena Sultan took on her occasional real-life role as counsel appointed to represent the interests of a person who is the subject of an end of life decision.  Also participating on the panel were Board Vice-Chairs Mark Handelman and Dr. Gary Chaimowitz and Anita Szigeti of Hiltz Szigeti LLP.  The audience were encouraged to put their questions respecting the Board’s processes and powers to the panel participants.   The discussion was lively and involved many issues that arise daily in practice before the Board.