8 Rutgers-Cam L.J. 37 (1976-1977)
In Re Quinlan: A Synthesis of Law and Medical Technology

handle is hein.journals/rutlj8 and id is 53 raw text is: IN RE QUINLAN: A SYNTHESIS OF LAW
AND MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY*
William F. Hylandt
David S. Baimett
I. INTRODUCTION
Today, in every hospital in the country, a shadowy community
exists comprised of phantom beings tenaciously clinging to worldly
existence. Sharing the attributes of both life and death, they form a
new generic class of existence. The startling progress that has taken
place in medical science and technology has obliterated the distinction
between life and death and raised serious questions regarding the care
and treatment of these unfortunate people.
The decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in In re Quinlan1
demonstrates, however, that legal principles have not kept pace with
advances in medical science. When the Quinlan litigation was com-
menced two questions were presented. The first issue concerned the
role of the law in defining life and death; the second revolved around
the practice of antidysthanasia.2   A pretrial concession made unnec-
essary a decision with respect to judicial recognition of modern medical
theories concerning the time and occurrence of death.' Nevertheless,
both issues have aroused great public interest and concern, and it is
upon these questions that this article focuses.
A brief factual recitation of the Quinlan case is necessary at the
outset of the discussion. Karen Ann Quinlan was admitted to the
* The authors wish to thank Deputy Attorney General John DeCicco and Deputy
Attorney General Daniel L Grossman for their invaluable assistance.
f Attorney General of the State of New Jersey. B.S., University of Pennsylvania;
LL.B., University of Pennsylvania Law School.
i Assistant Attorney General, Appellate Section, Division of Criminal Justice.
B.A., American University; J.D., Cornell Law School.
1. 70 N.J. 10, 355 A.2d 647 (1976), rev'g 137 N.J. Super. 227, 348 A.2d 801 (Ch.
1975).
2. See Complaint, In re Quinlan, 70 N.J. 10, 355 A.2d 647 (1976).
3. At a pretrial conference, petitioner conceded that, under any definition of death,
Karen was legally and medically alive. See 70 N.J. at 20, 355 A.2d at 652.
4. For a more detailed factual background see 137 N.J. Super. at 236-50, 348 A.2d
at 806-14.

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