FC: Cruzan Vs. Missouri The Right to Die.
1: Chapter one (page 2) Chapter Two (Page 7) Chapter Three (Page 12) Chapter Four (Page 17) Bibliography (Page 27) | A Terrible Accident The Fight Begins A Supreme Decision A Right to Die
2: Chapter one A Terrible Accident
3: Nancy had no seat belts in her car. Officers stated she possibly slid on ice and lost control of the car. (NOTE: This is not really her car) | Nancy Cruzan was a 25 year old girl who was driving on her way home from work and slipped on ice and got into a very bad accident. She was found thirty feet away from her car, and wasn't breathing and had no pulse when the trooper found her.
4: The human body can only go 6 minutes without oxygen. After the point the damage is exponential. When a human is in a coma, they are not physically capable of swallowing anything, but have the capability of running their digestive system. | Although she seemed dead, the paramedics kept trying and got her breathing again. The doctor said she went 14 minutes without breathing which caused severe damage to her brain. Because she was in a coma and incapable of swallowing. She got her parents permission to attach a tube to her stomach so that she can stay hydrated and keep her nutritions.
5: When a fetus is lying within it's mother's stomach, it remains in a position in which they keep their feet down to their lower backs, have their hands on their chest, and nod their head down with their umbilical cords in their stomach. | After growing into the PVS (persistant vegetative stage) she started going into a fetal position like babies do when they are in their mother. For every 100,00 people who are in this terrible state, only three have left with a normal life. Her face was bloated, her body was completely shriveled up, and this position became permanent. She also experienced much seizures, bleeding, and diarrhea.
6: Nancy's Cruzan's family often visited and celebrated occasions such as her birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and other times so that she wouldn't be left out. | The family would go up every week, and celebrate her birthday and special holidays by decorating her room and bringing her cards. The family would take turns sitting and telling her life stories hoping she’d understand. The nurses claim that she’s capable of hearing because for very specific people she would actually cry. After three years her parents decided that they want to take her off the life support, but this was denied by director of the rehabilitation center, Donald Lamkins, because he was concerned he could be charged with murder. Then the parents went to Judge Charles Teel Jr. requesting to take Cruzan home and let her pass away there, but that was denied as well
7: Chapter Two The Fight Begins
8: When the Cruzans took this to court, they needed some type of support form the constitution that would help them with the case, nothing about removal of life support was written in the constitution because such a concept wasn’t around at that time, so it was up to the supreme court to determine the outcome of the case. They found two amendments that would support hem, one being the tenth amendment. The amendment states that powers not delegated to the US by the constitution are reserved to the states or people. Missouri’s law states that the guardians can decide if they want to put a child on life support or not, but that doesn’t mean the parents have permission to take the life support off. Other states have systems in which a person can fill out a will for someone else to decide whether or not they should be taken of life support if they are ever in that situation.
9: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny any person with its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law." | The Fourteenth Amendment then states that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny any person with its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law." the Cruzans hoped to use these to amendments to help them defend their "right to privacy". but the state of missouri constantly argued that the "right to pricavy is not an absolute right to do with one's body as they please.
10: When The Cruzan’s first approached Judge Teel, he stated that taking somebody off of life support after putting it in is defying the Missouri Law, and cannot be permitted with clear and convincing evidence that it is what the patient wants. Robert Presson, the attorney that was defending Missouri, stated that the Cruzan’s testimony was flawed. Because it still didn’t prove that Nancy wanted her feeding tube removed. The Cruzan’s acknowledged that they hey never had any type of communication with their daughter in which she stated that she wanted the treatment canceled. Presson states that “the state is not interested in the quality of life, but has an interest in preserving life, and it’s an obligation to preserve life.” It was after this statement and a few more arguments that it was up to the judge to finally decide whether or not she should be allowed to remove her feeding.
11: Judge Teel first believed that Nancy Cruzan should live, and when the Cruzan's first approached him two years before asking if they could take her home to die, he said "i felt all along it couldn't be done. It wasn't within our law." But after hearing all the testimonies and constantly thinking about her permanent condition, he decided that she still had a right to liberty, which was more of a priority than the state law. Judge Teel ruled that the Cruzan's did have the right to remove the feeding on the grounds that someone is allowed to be free from unwanted medical treatment. Unfortunately, not many people agreed with this decision and started protesting which led this case to go to the supreme court.
12: Chapter Three The Supreme Decision
13: Now the Cruzan's case has been taken to the Supreme Court. and they have a fifty-fifty shot at winning their case. There were four judges that were conservative, and took the Constitution very literally always asking "where is that written?" These judges were: William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalie, Justice Bryon White and Anothony M. Kennedy. Along with them were four very liberal judges, who believed that the constitution could be interpreted to benefit the people. these people included William J. Brennan Jr. Thurgood Marshall, Harry A. Blackmun, and John Paul Stevens III. The Ninth Justice was Sandra Day O'Connor. she was usually on the Conservative side, but also voted along with the liberals when she felt it was right.
14: This was Bill Colby's first time presenting a case in the Supreme Court, and claims its a humbling experience. with the short time he had, he starts off by informing the Justices how Nancy got into her PVS state, and the situation with why she needed the tube and why they wanted to take it out now. He asks the Court to consider "whether a state can order a person to relieve invasive medical treatment when that order is contrary to the wishes of the family, when it overrides all available evidence about the person's wishes." he uses the tenth and fourteenth amendment in his defense like used in the previous court.
15: When it was Presson's turn to speak in the Court, he began by stating that the first court was correct in denying the Cruzan's right to remove their daughter's feeding tubes. and that the family wasn't suffering any financial burden because all of the expenses were covered by a state-funding program. When asked whether or not there were any circumstances in which the state could be capable of removing the life support, Presson responded saying that if it was a condition that there isn't a cure for then the decisions could vary. But because the feeding tube was doing what it's suppose too, there's no reason to end her life.
16: During the time between the Supreme Courth and the final decision of the Justices, Nancy Cruzan had to carry on with her day to day life. This consisted of take a bath every morning, change into a fresh set of clothes, and have her hair brushed and decorated by the nurses. her situation had caught the attention of every family in America. People would be talking about the case, and debating between, dinner tables, classrooms, and professional workplaces about what should happen with Nancy Cruzan. 6 months later, The decision was made.
17: Chapter Four The Right to Die
18: After the Court ruled in favor of Missouri, which gave the state the right to ask for "clear and convincing" evidence that a patient wants to end their life, there was a hearing held before a state court. This hearing heard a testimony from the Cruzan family which provided enough evidence to authorize the removal of Nancy's feeding tubes. She died a few days later.
19: The Cruzan case encouraged an advancement in the rights for patients to receive treatment for an assisted death. This started the "Right to Die" movement.
20: As medical technology has become more sophisticated, the question of when and how a life can be taken has become more controversial.
21: In 1999, Dr. Kevorkian was charged with murder after assisting the deaths of over 120 patients. There are many critics of Kevorkian who say this practice cheapens life. Other groups are pushing to make this practice legal. They insist that state laws banning assisted suicides like this are unconstitutional.
22: Physicians in both New York and Washington, along with several of their terminally ill patients, filed suits challenging the constitutionality of the law prohibiting assisted suicide.
23: In 1997 in New York after the Cruzan case, Dr. Timothy Quill administered life ending drugs to two AIDS patients. This act resulted in Vacco v. Quill. The courts decision ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
24: The state's assisted suicide ban violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The courts reasoning determined while New York law permitted terminally ill patients to hasten their deaths, it did not prohibit the physicians to administer the drugs.
25: In 1997, the Supreme Court further considered the constitutional rights affected by the end-of-life decisions.
26: Chief Justice Rehnquist stated what had already been applied in the Cruzan Case. "that competent persons have a constitutional right to reject life-sustaining medical intervention" While this statement is true, the court rejects a constitutional claim that a person who is dying and suffering has a more of a right to control the how and when of their death.
27: KERMIT L. HALL. "Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health." The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Mar. 2011