Law: Debate on the Boundary of Life

Medical miracles and the patient's right to die

Siamese twins, joined at the waist, with a common pelvis, were born in Danville, Ill., on May 5, 1981. The pair had three legs. The parents and doctor allegedly ordered all feeding stopped. They were charged with attempted murder, though the charges were eventually dismissed.

Former Schoolteacher Peter Cinque, 41, had lost his sight and both his legs to diabetes. He wanted to stop dialysis and other life-sustaining treatment. The hospital refused. On Oct. 22,1982, a New York judge upheld Cinque's right to stop treatment. By then...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!