Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Judge Orders Life Support for Victim Case of Nancy Cruzan Is Cited as Precedent

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Judge Orders Life Support for Victim Case of Nancy Cruzan Is Cited as Precedent

Article excerpt

Unless authorities can find a family member or friend to whom Lucio Bretana confided his thoughts about life and death, the 44-year-old vagrant will remain on life support indefinitely.

And indefinitely could mean 20 to 30 years, said Robert C. Weis, St. Louis County's public administrator.

Weis asked for and got approval Wednesday from Probate Judge Louis M. Kohn to continue hydration and feeding tubes for Bretana, who suffered extensive brain damage July 4 from a beating by a cabdriver. Bretana is a patient in a skilled nursing facility at St. Anthony's Medical Center.

Bretana is comatose. Electroencephalograph tests in July, August and January showed minimum brain functions in the brain stem.

Because hospital social workers could find no relatives of Bretana, Weis was appointed his guardian on Nov. 29.

Weis and his chief deputy and attorney, Edward Thomeczek, told Kohn that they are relying on the precedent set in the Nancy Cruzan case in ordering that life supports continue.

Cruzan died in a state hospital in southwest Missouri on Dec. 26, 1990 - twelve days after a judge approved her family's request to withdraw artificial feeding. Cruzan, 33, had been unconscious in what doctors said was an irreversible and persistent vegetative state since a car accident in 1983.

In the Cruzan case, relatives had testified that Cruzan told them before her accident that she would rather die than live on life supports with no hope of recovery.

Unless Weis or social workers at St. Anthony's can find a relative or friend of Bretana to say what his feelings were on the matter, Bretana will continue to get food and water through a tube.

After a Post-Dispatch story about Bretana was distributed by national wire services last month, Weis was contacted by a woman who put Weis in touch with Hector Acosta in Provo, Utah.

Bretana had lived for three or four months with Acosta in Provo last year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.