A founder of the right-to-life group Operation Rescue has accused the hospital where Nancy Cruzan died of "lining people up" for euthanasia. Officials denied it.
Cruzan, 33, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for nearly eight years, died at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday. The feeding tube that had kept her alive since a 1983 car crash had been removed 12 days earlier at her parents' request, approved by a judge."I'm curious to see who's going to be next at this facility," said the Rev. Joseph Foreman of Atlanta. The co-founder of Operation Rescue said he learned from hospital sources whom he did not identify that several patients are candidates for euthanasia.
Don Lamkins, the rehabilitation center's director, said one or two patients at the center have about the same extent of brain damage as Cruzan did.
"But I have never had any indication from the families of those people that they want to do that (euthanasia)," he said.
Cruzan's parents, Joe and Joyce Cruzan, fought a three-year legal battle to remove their daughter's feeding tube, saying she would not want to live in a persisitent vegetative state.
The legal efforts led to a landmark Supreme Court decision on June 25 stating that patients like Cruzan could be allowed to die, but only if there was "clear and convincing" evidence that was their wish.
Several of Cruzan's former co-workers then testified in state court that she said she would never want to live "like a vegetable." Judge Charles Teel Jr. ruled Dec. 14 that her feeding tube could be removed.