The Law: The Right to Live--or Die

Curled in a fetal position and shrunk to half her normal 120 Ibs., Karen Ann Quinlan lies helpless in St. Clare's Hospital in Denville, N.J., unaware that she is in effect going on trial for her life. Her eyes are open, unseeing. Her body convulses slightly every few seconds as an artificial respirator, surgically connected to her windpipe, forces her lungs to work, enabling her to continue in what her doctors describe as a "chronic vegetative state." Her heart is beating, and her permanently damaged brain continues to function, sending off slight but steady signals visible on an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Karen's case...

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