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Canada Family of Brampton woman ruled brain dead appeals to keep her on life support

21:21  31 july  2018
21:21  31 july  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court’s decision that would have seen her taken off life support Ontario Superior Court Justice Lucille Shaw ruled against the family last month, but McKitty was to be kept on life support for 30 days in case the

The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court's decision that would have seen her taken off life support , claiming the judge made several errors in her ruling .

a person wearing a hat and smiling at the camera: Taquisha McKitty has been declared brain dead but her family says she shows signs of life. © Instagram Taquisha McKitty has been declared brain dead but her family says she shows signs of life.

The family of a Brampton, Ont., woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court's decision that would have seen her taken off life support, claiming the judge made several errors in her ruling.

Taquisha McKitty's parents say the Ontario Superior Court made a mistake in failing to recognize her Christian fundamentalist beliefs that state she's alive as long as her heart's still beating. 

Doctors declared the 27-year-old "dead by neurological criteria" on Sept. 20, 2017 — one week after she was found unconscious on a Brampton sidewalk following a drug overdose.

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The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court's decision that would have seen her taken off life support , claiming the judge made several errors in her ruling .

The family of a Brampton , Ont., woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court's decision that would have seen her taken off life support , claiming the judge made several errors in her ruling . Family appeals to keep Brampton woman Taquisha McKitty on life support .

The family was successful in getting an injunction to halt doctors at Brampton's William Osler Health System from taking her off life support while they fought the case in court.

But in June, Justice Lucille Shaw ruled against the family. 

No statutory definition of death

Unlike four other Canadian provinces, including Manitoba and Nova Scotia, Ontario does not have a statutory definition of death, the court decision noted. 

Instead, death in Canada is determined by physicians in accordance with accepted medical practice.

"There is no legislation that requires physicians to consider an individual's views, wishes or religious beliefs as factors to be considered in the determination of death," Shaw, wrote in her decision last fall. 

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The family of a Brampton , Ont., woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court's decision that would have seen her taken off life support The judge also ruled forcing doctors to keep patients on ventilation until their heart has stopped, as per McKitty's religious beliefs, could have

The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court’s decision that would have seen her taken off life support Ontario Superior Court Justice Lucille Shaw ruled against the family last month, but McKitty was to be kept on life support for 30 days in case the

McKitty was to be kept on life support for 30 days in case the family decided to appeal.

In documents filed in court last week, McKitty's parents argued their daughter should stay on life support and listed nearly 50 ways they believe Shaw's decision was wrong. 

Taquisha McKitty is seen here with her daughter. © Instagram Taquisha McKitty is seen here with her daughter.

"The court erred in finding that the determination of death requires no assessment whatsoever of Taquisha's individual wishes, values and beliefs, but only requires the assessment of certain value-laden, limited, arbitrary, and evolving medical considerations," Stanley Stewart and Alyson McKitty argued in their appeal.

Not legally a person, Judge ruled

Shaw's decision raised "many issues of concern" to Taquisha McKitty's family, their lawyer, Hugh Scher, said in a written statement issued Monday.

"There are (also) serious issues of public interest and concern including the interpretation of religious freedom, equality and life itself raised," Scher said.

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The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court’s decision that would have seen her taken off life support , claiming the judge 20, 2017, one week after she was found unconscious on a Brampton sidewalk following a drug overdose. Her parents launched a legal

The family of a woman declared clinically brain dead last year is appealing a court’s decision that would have seen her taken off life support , claiming the judge made several errors in her ruling . Doctors declared 27-year-old Taquisha McKitty “ dead by neurological criteria” on Sept.

McKitty's family argues the judge "failed to apply the protections" of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Human Rights Code after they had claimed their daughter's charter rights were infringed when doctors declared her dead in contravention of her religious beliefs.

Shaw said in her decision that the charter does not apply to McKitty because the document only protects "persons" and McKitty, because she is clinically brain dead, is not legally a "person."

Financial Impact

The judge also ruled forcing doctors to keep patients on ventilation until their heart has stopped, as per McKitty's religious beliefs, could have "significant financial impact" on the health-care system — using up staff and resources that could be used to help other patients.

The appeal claims that part of Shaw's ruling was not based on hard facts.

"The court improperly (relied) upon assumptions of unproven financial and resource allocation factors to justify its acceptance of neurological death and to reject the requirement of reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs that don't accept neurological death as death," the family argued.

McKitty's family also claimed Shaw was wrong to disqualify the expert opinion of a family witness and failed their daughter by not allowing her movements to be filmed for a 72-hour period "to allow for a proper systematic assessment as to whether or not Taquisha met the requirements for a determination of death by neurological criteria."

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