This article addresses the propriety of the Barber v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County decision and its ramifications. The purposes of the article are twofold. First, I argue in Part II that, contrary to the Barber court's reasoning, intravenous feeding and hydration are not treatments but rather sustenance; therefore, they cannot be discontinued simply because a patient is incurably comatose. The second, and major, purpose (in Part III) is to recommend methods for dealing with the problems inherently associated with the care of incurably comatose patients.

I. Introduction

II. The Consequences of Withdrawing the I.V. ... A. The Line of Authority ... B. Barber v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County … 1. Holding of the Court ... 2. Analysis of the Decision

III. Alternatives, Recommendations, and Conclusions ... A. The Ideological Components of Medical Decisionmaking ... B. Systems to Assure That Proper Decisions Are Made ... 1. Physician-Patient Intervention ... 2. Judicial Intervention ... 3. Statutory Guidelines ... 4. Ethics Committees

IV. Conclusion