Cruzan attorney to speak about end-of-life care Friday
(Sept. 19, 2005)
The attorney who represented the family of Nancy Cruzan before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that catapulted end-of-life issues to national attention will speak Friday, Sept. 23 at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
William H. Colby will speak from 8-9 a.m. in the hospital auditorium. His lecture is titled, "From Cruzan to Schiavo: What Have We Learned?" The lecture is free and the public is invited.
In 1983, 25-year old Nancy Cruzan lost control of her car on a Missouri road. After months in a coma and with rehabilitation efforts proving unsuccessful, her parents asked the hospital to withdraw nutrition and hydration. The hospital refused without court approval. A lower court agreed with the parents, but the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the ruling saying it was unclear what Cruzan's wishes would have been. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the state court's decision.
In the end, however, further witnesses satisfied Missouri courts that convincing evidence of Cruzan's wishes did exist, and nutrition and hydration were removed in December 1990. Cruzan died two weeks later.
Colby, a fellow at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo., wrote the critically acclaimed book on the case, "Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan." Signed copies of the book will be available at the lecture for $20.
The lecture is presented by the East Carolina University Department of Internal Medicine and the End of Life Coalition of Eastern Carolina with funding from the Beverly Foundation and the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation.