Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cruzan v. Missouri

Case Name: Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health

Year: 1990

Result: 5-4, favor Missouri

Related Constitutional Issue/Amendment: Amendment XIV, Due Process

Civil Rights or Civil Liberties: Civil Liberties

Significance/Precedent: Missouri held the right to ignore what Cruzan's parents' desire to take her off life-support because she was in a vegetative state and it could not be proven that she would consent to this. It was constitutional for Missouri to take steps to keep her on life-support. Cruzan's right to privacy did not conflict with the government's right to keep her from dying since she could not express her desires.

Quote from Majority Opinion: "The court recognized a right to refuse treatment embodied in the common law doctrine of informed consent, but expressed skepticism about the application of that doctrine in the circumstances of this case.

Summary of Dissent: The dissent believed that it was not up to the Court and that Cruzan could be taken off life support if that is what her parents wanted. They believed that the government was going too far into her privacy.
Quote: "Medical technology has effectively created a twilight zone of suspended animation where death commences while life, in some form, continues. Some patients, however, want no part of a life sustained only by medical technology. Instead, they prefer a plan of medical treatment that allows nature to take its course and permits them to die with dignity."

Six-word Summary: Government makes decisions for incompetent people

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