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In the Matter of Quinlan

Significance, Accepted Standards Vs. Right To Die, Decision Is Appealed, Do States That Allow Assisted Suicide Find An Increase In Intentional Suicide Rates?


Joseph T. Quinlan


St. Clare's Hospital

Plaintiff's Claim

That doctors at St. Clare's Hospital should obey Mr. Quinlan's instructions to disconnect his comatose daughter from her respirator and allow her to die.

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

Paul W. Armstrong, James Crowley

Chief Defense Lawyers

Ralph Porzio (for Karen Quinlan's physicians), Theodore Einhorn (for the hospital), New Jersey State Attorney General William F. Hyland, Morris County Prosecutor Donald G. Collester, Jr.


Robert Muir, Jr.


Morristown, New Jersey

Date of Decision

10 November 1975


Denied Mr. Quinlan the right to authorize termination of "life-assisting apparatus" and granted Karen Quinlan's physicians the right to continue medical treatment over the objections of the Quinlan family. Overturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which, on 31 March 1976, ruled that Karen's "right of privacy" included a right to refuse medical treatment and that her father, under the circumstances, could assume this right in her stead.

Related Cases

  • Garger v. New Jersey, 429 U.S. 922 (1976).
  • Matter of Conroy, 486 A.2d 1209 (1985).


Oregon Center for Health Statistics (State Department of Health).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980