She's Finally Free: Living with the Tragic Loss of Nancy Cruzan

McConnell, Allison

Primary Category: Performing Arts / Film, TV, Video

Genre: Video

Annotated by:
Kohn, Martin
  • Date of entry: May-30-2003
  • Last revised: Aug-31-2006


In the videotape, She's Finally Free . . ., Joe Cruzan and Christy Cruzan White, Nancy Cruzan's father and sister, tell the story of their eight-year struggle for the right to let Nancy die, after a January 11, 1983 car wreck left her in a persistent vegetative state. The Cruzans see their story as a means of enlightening health care professionals and the community at large about the concerns and frustrations experienced by the families of critically ill patients. After a brief pictorial overview of Nancy Cruzan's life, the remainder of the video presents a chronological series of vignettes/stories told by Christy and Joe Cruzan.


I've used this videotape a number of times in the classroom, and for a "non-commercially" produced tape with storytelling as the main action, it still manages to produce a strong emotional reaction in the viewer. An additional aspect to the tragedy of this story is that Joe Cruzan committed suicide recently, apparently still grieving the loss of his daughter.


This videotape was produced by the Center for Literature, Medicine, and the Health Care Professions. The Center is a collaborative project of Hiram College and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine(NEOUCOM).

Primary Source

The University of Akron (one of NEOCOM's consortium universities). Call directly to Audio-visual services, Tom Bennett (330-972-6102) or call/e-mail Allison McConnell (330-972-6989);