One of the issues that right-to-die advocates have had to address is, under what conditions a person should be able to choose to no longer receive medical treatment. A case in New Jersey illustrates how tricky that can be.
For a long time, people have argued for the right to refuse medical treatment they do not want, even if it would preserve their lives. Every state in the U.S. allows this, to some extent or another, through the use of living wills.
These documents allow people to declare in advance that if they are terminally ill with no chance of recovery, doctors should not give them life-prolonging treatments. Living wills are not very controversial. They became extremely popular after the Terry Schiavo case a few years ago.
However, right-to-die advocates have attempted to push the envelope even further and allow more people to decide when they no longer want to live. Elder law advocates have especially tried to make it easier for the elderly to refuse treatments that they do not want.
A recent case in New Jersey might be the most extreme example of pushing the envelope thus far.
CNN reported on it in "Woman with eating disorder dies after court grants her that right."
Last summer, a 29-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital. She suffered from a severe eating disorder and weighed only 60 pounds at the time. She suffered from heart failure after tearing medical tubes out on her own.
According to her court appointed guardian, the woman did not want to be forced to use a feeding tube, because she feared she might get fat. The guardian argued that she should be allowed to refuse the treatment and enter palliative care where she would not be force fed.
The court agreed and the woman has passed away.
Reference: CNN (Feb. 22, 2017) "Woman with eating disorder dies after court grants her that right."