Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health

497 U.S. 261 (1990), upheld the constitutionality of a person's right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment as long as clear and convincing evidence is presented that such refusal is desired by the person. In this particular case, the Court ruled that a comatose patient had not sufficiently conveyed her wishes and therefore that life-sustaining treatment must continue; but the Court allowed that when demonstrable evidence of a patient's wishes is given, life-sustaining treatment may be removed in the interest of preserving individual liberty and the quality of life.

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