Panel trumps doctors: Keep man alive

March 21, 2011 at 7:57 AM

OAKVILLE, Ontario, March 21 (UPI) -- A Canadian medical panel has ordered doctors to provide aggressive treatment to keep an elderly man alive against the advice of his doctors, officials said.

A provincial panel at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in Oakville, Ontario, has ordered doctors and nurses to use whatever means necessary to keep Desmond Watson, 87, alive, the Toronto Star reported.

Watson suffers from dementia, pneumonia, bedsores and other conditions and his medical team sought permission from his wife, Maria, to end the use of extraordinary means keeping him alive. She refused, saying her Catholic religion would want him kept alive as long as possible.

"I've been carrying this thing for so long," said Maria, who plans to celebrate her 70th wedding anniversary with her husband in June. "[The hospital medical staff] gave me hell, lots of sleepless nights, but it's over. I did it."

Hospital doctors and nurses said the man is suffering in a state of non-communicative and irreversible dementia and his condition won't improve.

"Being kept alive in this way -- I can't imagine anybody would wish that," said Dr. David McConachie, one of the man's doctors.

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