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This article considers the kinds of limits on withholding that each of these policies might plausibly support, compares these limits to the judicial approaches taken in the refusal of treatment cases, and explores how apparent conflicts between these state goals and the interests of the patients might be resolved. Because this article focuses exclusively on the state's interests, however, it necessarily isolates and considers only one portion of a complex problem involving the interests of patients, families, providers, and others. No comprehensive examination of the nature and weight of the patient's interests or those of other involved parties is attempted. Thus, no final conclusions about the ultimate shape of the patient's rights or about the constitutional stature of those rights are offered. Instead, this Article explores the nature, weight, and implications of the many meanings hidden beneath the state's multi-faceted interest in “the preservation of life."



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