Judge dismisses suit against doctors accused of ignoring man's wishes to stay alive

TORONTO — An Ontario judge has dismissed a lawsuit against two Toronto doctors accused of imposing a ``do not resuscitate'' order on an elderly man without consulting him or his substitute decision-maker.

Joy Wawrzyniak had filed a $2.2-million suit against Dr. Donald Livingston and Dr. Martin Chapman, accusing them of negligence or malpractice in the death of her 88-year-old father.

Second World War veteran Douglas DeGuerre was in hospital with several illnesses at the time of his death in September 2008, but had previously indicated he wanted to keep pursuing treatments and stay alive.

The lawsuit alleged the doctors changed DeGuerre's status from ``full code'' — meaning make all reasonable efforts to keep the patient alive — to ``do not resuscitate,'' without asking DeGuerre or consulting Wawrzyniak, who was tasked with making decisions on his behalf.

In a decision handed down this week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Cavanagh found the doctors had upheld their duty of care and followed all relevant policies.

Lawyers representing the doctors say they're grateful for the ruling, while Wawrzyniak's lawyer says he's reviewing the decision.

© 2019 The Canadian Press