Golden Gate University Law Review


Carol A. Murphy


The issue of withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining medical treatment arises with increasing regularity in the United States, prompted by a growing elderly population and constant technological advances. A Hospital Ethics Committee (HEC) may be utilized to assist in making treatment decisions for incompetent patients, but there is inconsistency in the deference given to HECs by courts. Neither federal nor state statutes have addressed the proper role of HECs in health care decisionmaking, and common law on the subject is conflicting. This comment will explore the levels of judicial scrutiny applied to HEC decisions regarding life-sustaining medical treatment and explore the proper role of HECs within the American jurisprudential system.