TheCruzan Case

TheCruzan Case

TheCruzan case is a legal tussle by NancyCruzan vs. the Director, MO. Dept. of Health,(1990). Nancy Cruzan was left in a vegetative state after she wasinvolved in an auto crash. The purpose of this particular trial wasto compel the healthcare institution to give the victim`s family theright to take her life (Lewin,1990).

Theconcept of Euthanasia refers to the act of deliberately ending one`slife in a bid to relieve or stop either their physical or emotionalsuffering. Ideally, this form of treatment is administered topatients with a terminal illness such as cancer (BBC, 2014).Euthanasia can be perceived as a form of assisted suicide as it isconducted by administering an overdose of muscle relaxants in a bidto help end their lives. Cruzan’s parents wanted to remove thefeeding tube that was keeping their daughter alive without herconsent. Three good nursing models came into play. They include theopinions of everyone involved in the case, the outline of availableoptions and, the review criteria and resolve.

Undermassage and dilemma, Nancy Cruzan’s family took the initiative toend the life of their daughter. This was through the use ofconstitutional right known us “liberty of interest” whichprovides individuals with the right to refuse medical treatment. However, it is important to note that this right does not extend topatients in a vegetative state, thereby forcing the family to take upthe decision for them.

Inthe second moral model, the outline of available options NancyCruzan’s family identified the removal of their daughter’s lifesupport equipment. According to them, this was the most honorable toend the life of Cruzan as it sorts to relieve her emotionalsuffering.

Althoughthe decision to starve Cruzan went against her fundamental right tolife, Cruzan’s family saw it as the only way to preserve her senseof dignity. Therefore, under the third moral system review criteriaand resolve, Cruzan’s family noted that by making the personaldecision to allow Nancy die, would prevent her from further enduringhumiliating situations.


BBC(2014). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Retrieved from

Lewin,T., (1990). Nancy Cruzan Dies, Outlived by a Debate over the Right toDie. Retrieved from