Nancy Beth Cruzan (July 20, 1957–December 26, 1990) was a figure in the right-to-die movement. After an automobile accident left her in a persistent vegetative state, her family petitioned in courts for three years, as far as the U.S. Supreme Court (Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health), to have her feeding tube removed. The Court initially denied the family's request, citing lack of evidence of Cruzan's wishes. The family's request was ultimately granted by providing additional evidence. On December 15, 1990, the tube was removed and she died 12 days later.
On January 11, 1983, she lost control of her old car that had no seat belts, was thrown from it and landed face down in a water-filled ditch. Paramedics found her with no vital signs, but they resuscitated her. After a couple weeks of remaining dormant within a coma, she was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Surgeons inserted a feeding tube for her long-term care. Her sister, and parents waited for a more substantial recovery, but eventually, after four years, accepted that there was no hope.