Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Karen Ann Quinlan Case Carried Strong Message

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Karen Ann Quinlan Case Carried Strong Message

Article excerpt

Dear Ann Landers: I would like to write a letter to the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan. She was the young girl who mixed alcohol and barbiturates and was in a coma for about seven years before she died. Her parents fought a well-publicized court battle to get her off life support. I know a lot of years have passed, but Karen has been on my mind. I hope a family member or friend will see this letter and pass it along to the Quinlan family.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan: I remember when your daughter went into a coma in 1975 as a result of mixing alcohol and barbiturates. I didn't know Karen, but she has had a real impact on my life.

I grew up in the '60s and '70s, when drugs were very easy to obtain. I abused alcohol later in life, but I never used any drugs because of Karen's experience. I am now 44, and I couldn't begin to tell you the times I have mentioned your daughter's name over the years. My two grown children have known about Karen for as long as they can remember. I realize that nothing can ease the pain of losing your daughter. I hope, however, it will bring you some comfort to know that others DID notice, and they learned a very valuable lesson from her tragic death. I sincerely believe the story of Karen touched and saved more lives than anyone will ever know. PENNY STEWART IN WACO, TEXAS I believe you are right about Karen's story saving lives. Rest assured that Karen Ann Quinlan's parents will see your letter. I know my readers, and they will see to it. I, along with millions of others, was heartsick that the Quinlans had to wage such a horrendous battle to get their daughter out of the hospital. For months, it was known that there was zero chance that Karen would recover, yet the hospital authorities refused to disconnect the life support and allow her to be brought home to spend her final days. …

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