The Canadian Press reported that the family of a Toronto man is challenging Ontario’s brain death guidelines because based on the Jewish faith, their son is not dead, but alive. The Canadian Press reported:
Shalom Ouanounou’s family is asking the court for an injunction to keep him on a ventilator and feeding tube while it pushes to have his death certificate revoked.
A notice of application filed by Ouanounou’s father and substitute decision-maker shows he seeks to challenge the Canadian guidelines on brain death on grounds that they do not accommodate religious beliefs.
The document says those guidelines define death as the irreversible cessation of brain function and of the capacity to breathe.
It says that Orthodox Judaism, the faith Ouanounou practises, considers death to be complete cardiac and respiratory failure.
The application argues that disregarding those beliefs would represent a serious assault on Ouanounou’s human dignity and religious liberty.
It says the matter raises a “serious constitutional issue.”
Shalom Ouanounou, 25, had an asthma attack at home on September 27 and was taken by ambulance to Humber River Hospital, where he was intubated and placed on a respirator. Three days later doctors declared Ouanounou as brain dead and issued his death certificate.
The case is being heard in a Toronto court today. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is considering intervenor standing in this case.