The decision to accept or reject life-sustaining treatment has no equal. We enter this arena humbly acknowledging that neither law, medicine nor philosophy can provide a wholly satisfactory answer to this question.
To err either way has incalculable ramifications. To end the life of a patient who still derives meaning and enjoyment from life or to condemn persons to lives from which they cry out for release is nothing short of barbaric. If we are to err, however, we must err in preserving life.
Many judges have made similar observations about balancing errors of unwanted death against errors of unwanted life. Perhaps the most famous was by Justice Brennan in Cruzan.
But must the resolution of this tension always be to err in favor of life? Mountains of evidence indicates that errors of unwanted life swamp errors of unwanted death by exponential proportions. How many must suffer to mitigate the chance that one might die too soon? We have surely long surpassed that number.