Ethics: Love and Let Die

In an era of untamed medical technology, how are patients and families to decide whether to halt treatment -- or even to help death along?

Just as I choose a ship to sail in or a house to live in, so I choose a death for my passage from life.

-- Seneca (4 B.C.-A.D. 65)

Nancy Cruzan, now 32, has done nothing for the past seven years. She has not hugged her mother or gazed out the window or played with her nieces. She has neither laughed nor wept, her parents say, nor spoken a word. Since her car crashed on an icy night, she has lain so still for so long that her hands have curled into claws; nurses wedge napkins under her fingers to...

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