The Permissibility of Withdrawing Life Support
A terminal end-stage patient (one who has only a few weeks of life remaining) had previously expressed his desire not to be intubated. According to the Halacha, situations arise in which such a desire is to be respected. Cardiac arrest subsequently occurred and the attending physician, not aware of the patient's request, routinely intubated him.
Normally the halachic position would be that stopping the respirator is prohibited because it results in the patient's death. In this case the patient was able to breathe partially on his own, the purpose of the respirator being to supplement his air supply. By removing the respirator, the patient will die of asphyxiation sooner that if he would have remained on life support.
Is it permissible to withdraw life support when there will be no immediate effect on the patient, the effect being delayed?
Rav Eliyashiv ruled that the removal of the intubation tube is forbidden and it must remain in place until the patient's demise.
This case study should not be applied as a general rule. Instead, cases should be ruled upon individually by a competent halachic authority.