Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

No Decision on Cruzan?

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

No Decision on Cruzan?

Article excerpt

The U.S. Supreme Court might not rule on the so-called "right to die" after all. New bills pending in the Missouri legislature would permit the removal of a feeding tube from thirtytwo-year-old Nancy Cruzan, who lies in a persistent vegetative state, and might lead the Court to vacate its impending decision regarding her fate.

Two of the three bills, which all have the support of Missouri Attorney General William Webster, would move medical decision-making in Missouri into greater conformity with procedures in other states. They create a mechanism by which patients could appoint surrogates for making health care decisions in the event of incompetency, and remove the nutrition and hydration exclusion" in Missouri's current living will statute. The third bill is more controversial. It permits the removal of life-sustaining treatment from patients who are diagnosed by three physicians to have been permanently unconscious" for three years, who have expressed in the past some wish not to remain in a permanently unconscious state, whose family agrees to withdraw the treatment, and for whom a probate court has appointed a guardian. …

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