Nancy Cruzan Biography
Like Karen Ann Quinlan and Terri Schiavo, Nancy Cruzan became a public figure after entering a "persistent vegetative state." A 1983 auto accident left Cruzan permanently unconscious and without any higher brain function, kept alive only by a feeding tube and steady medical care. Cruzan's family waged a legal battle to have her feeding tube removed; the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the Cruzans had not provided "clear and convincing evidence" that Nancy Cruzan did not wish to have her life artificially preserved. The Cruzans later presented such evidence to the Missouri courts, which ruled in their favor in late 1990. The Cruzans stopped feeding Nancy in December of 1990, and she died later the same month.