ON SATURDAY, December 22, 1990, I drove my red and gray Ford Bronco slowly across the snow-packed two-lane roads down to Mt. Vernon, Missouri, to say goodbye to Nancy Cruzan and her family. Near the front steps of the state hospital, protesters huddled together against the frigid cold in a crude lean-to. They shouted “Save Nancy!” at me as I passed by.1 Inside, I sat with the family around Nancy Cruzan’s bed.
In March of 1993, I again walked past protesters, this time outside Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, and sat with Pete Busalacchi in the darkened hospital room next to the bed of his daughter, Christine. Or Chrissy, as he would say. Both father and daughter shared unnaturally red and bloodshot eyes, his from crying and lack of sleep, hers from the effects of dehydration.
Christine Busalacchi and Nancy Cruzan were dying, days after doctors had removed their feeding tubes. I was their lawyer. Their families had “won” the right to remove the feeding tubes from their