The Case of Karen Quinlan
C. Everett Koop
The name Karen Quinlan became identified in the autumn of 1975 in the minds of all who are concerned about matters of life and death with the extraordinary possibility of the termination of life becoming a legal matter. In piecing the story together, Time Magazine wrote it this way. 1 Karen Ann Quinlan had been born of unknown parents in Pennsylvania and was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Quinlan when she was four weeks old. Time said that the Quinlans considered her to be a friendly, outgoing girl, a fine skier and swimmer, and one who sang in their church. Karen's friends in high school, from which she graduated in 1972, described her as quiet but popular with the boys. Her employer, who discharged her because of a company cutback in August of 1974, remembered her as a good, hard worker.
Apparently in the last few months of her active life Karen, after losing her job, moved out of her parents' home and into employment and friendships unlike her previous lifestyle. "... Somewhere along the line, she began experimenting with drugs. Several friends described her as an occasional marijuana user and frequent pill popper who took 'uppers' and 'downers' to suit her moods." 2
Time concluded that drugs were probably responsible for Karen's____________________