CRUZAN, BY HER PARENTS AND CO-GUARDIANS v. DIRECTOR, MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
497 U.S. 261
June 25, 1990, Decided
In 1985 Nancy Cruzan was in a car accident that left her in an unconscious state with no detectable cardiac or respiratory function. Paramedics were able to restore her heartbeat and breathing. She was then transported to a hospital were a neurosurgeon diagnosed her as having sustained probable cerebral contusions compounded by significant anoxia (lack of oxygen). Nancy Cruzan was deprived of oxygen from 12 to 14 minutes. She was declared to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, meaning that she had all her motor ...view middle of the document...
A person in a “vegetative state” cannot make an informed decision while in this state, so they do not share the same rights.
No, Missouri’s “clear and convincing” evidence requirement does not violate the constitution because it is being used to protect the incompetent person’s life from being terminated through bad intentions of any surrogate.
The United States Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the State Supreme Court and saw no constitutional error in the State Supreme court’s application of a clear and convincing evidence standard during the proceedings.
Joseph Scalia concurred with the decision and adds that cases of these should be left to the courts of the states and that the US Supreme Court should not be involved in such cases. He also disagrees with the state court’s “clear and convincing” evidence requirement stating “…that even when it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that a patient no longer wishes certain...