Anniversary of first “right to die” case

December 26, 2005 marks the 15th anniversary of the death of Nancy Cruzan. Nancy Cruzan was a 25-year old southwest Missouri woman who was thrown from her car in 1983 when it flipped over. Paramedics found and revived her at leat 15 minutes after the crash. She never fully regained consciousness but did achieve a status that came to be called a “Persistent Vegetative State.” Five years after her accident, her family concluded she would never return to full consciousness. Thus began a long legal battle to have her feeding tube removed so she would die. The Cruzan case became the first “right to die” case to reach the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against the family.

Missourinet News Director Bob Priddy interviewed Bill Colby, the Cruzan family lawyer during the ordeal. Runs 30 minutes but it’s damned fine radio. Before the web, an in-depth piece like this would simply have been tucked away in a desk drawer.

2 thoughts on “Anniversary of first “right to die” case

  1. Hello!
    Recently, in my college class, we viewed and discussed the the Cruzan and Shiavo case. Are discussion surrounded the question(s) about the “right to die”. The Cruzan case was very, very moving. How sad it must be to see a loved one lie helplessly, in such a state that they will never be the same again….
    How is the Cruzan family doing now? Are the at peace and advocated for other families enduring a similar situation?
    Curious and caring….

  2. Steve, I went to high school with Bill Colby. Probably one of the brightest guys I know. Nothing shattering really, but usually my high school alums are known only to the local constables.

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