Ontario's top court has ruled doctors must get approval from a provincial medical board when their decision to withdraw life-support treatment goes against the wishes of a patient's family.
The decision means physicians cannot decide on their own to disconnect the breathing machine they say keeps Hassan Rasouli alive in a vegetative state at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital.
Rasouli's doctors had sought to stop his treatment, a move opposed by his wife and substitute decision maker Parichehr Salasel.
The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed with Salasel, upholding a lower court ruling that Rasouli's physicians need the approval of Ontario's Consent and Capacity Board before they can take the patient off a ventilator.
But the appeal court was careful to say its decision only applies in cases where there is a risk of immediate death.
That means doctors will not need capacity board approval to discontinue treatment they deem ineffective in situations that are not life-threatening.
Rasouli's daughter Mojgan said she's happy about the court's decision.
"This decision means human life is important," she said. "He's alive. He wants to be alive. He needs time."