The Case of Nancy Cruzan

The Case of Nancy Cruzan


A thirty-year-old accident victim suffered lack of oxygen to her brain for six to twenty minutes. She was in a persistently comatose and vegetative state, sustained by a gastronomy feeding tube, although her respiration and circulation were normal. She was oblivious to her surroundings except for reflexive grimace-like responses to sound or pain. The patient was in a state of progressive spastic quadriplegia with irreversibly contracted extremities. The opinion of medical professionals was that she could live thirty-years. She now lies in a Missouri state hospital at the state’s expense.