N.J. Court Case Examines End-Of-Life Decisions

The Wall Street Journal: A New Jersey court is weighing if the life of Ruben Betancourt "should have been prolonged and who should have made that decision: the hospital or his family." In a lawsuit, "his daughter, Jacqueline Betancourt, contends that her father was aware of his family's presence and that the hospital had no right to terminate life support without the family's agreement." But "Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth argues that Mr. Betancourt was in a persistent vegetative state and that giving further care was unwarranted and unethical, prolonging a painful death. The hospital is appealing a lower-court judgment from 2009 that ordered Trinitas to provide life-saving treatment to the patient."

"Mr. Betancourt died in May 2009, a year before the appellate judges heard arguments. While his care decisions may now be academic, legal observers say they expect the court to rule in the closely watched case because New Jersey courts have not shied from such debates, which have become more common across the country" (Sataline, 6/4).

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