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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Advances in medical technology have precipitated the growing controversy over withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a terminally ill person. Courts have drawn on two doctrines when seeking to balance the interests of the parties involved: the doctrines of best interests and self-determination. This Commentary questions the way these competing doctrines have become intertwined in the jurisprudence of right-to-die issues for non-autonomous persons. Through analysis of the development of New Jersey case law on this subject, it examines New Jersey's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the competing ideologies. The Commentary also critiques three alternative scholarly proposals, by Callahan, Emanual, and Handler, on how to address the issues raised by care for nonautonomous persons. Finally, the Commentary outlines several suggestions for reconciling the conflicting ideologies of the best interests and self-determination doctrines.

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