Overwhelming evidence indicates that physicians routinely ignore patient preferences about life-sustaining care. Yet, the ability of wrongfully treated patients to recover compensatory damages has recently been placed in doubt. Both courts and commentators have suggested that actions for unconsented life support are analogous to actions for wrongful life and should, for that reason, be rejected. In this article, Professor Philip Peters argues that the obvious similarity between the two kinds of claims is overshadowed by many factors that distinguish the two settings. As a result, Professor Peters concludes that a physician who wrongfully administers life-sustaining care over the objections of the patient or her proxy should be liable for compensatory damages.
Philip G. Peters Jr., The Illusion of Autonomy at the End of Life: Unconsented Life Support and the Wrongful Life Analogy, 45 UCLA L. Rev. 673 (1998)