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Author Archive: William Winslade


by William J. Winslade, PhD, JD

Dax Cowart, patients’ rights advocate and lawyer, died of cancer on April 28, 2019.  He was 71. He was widely known for his attempts to refuse treatment for severe burns caused by a propane gas explosion and fire that occurred in East Texas in 1973.  Physicians in Dallas and Galveston disregarded his pleas on the grounds that he was incompetent.  But Dax argued passionately that he had a right to decide whether or not to undergo the extremely painful burn treatments.  The 1974 documentary Please Let Me Die showed that Dax, even though heavily medicated, could make a calm and rational argument for respect for his personal autonomy and his right to make his own treatment decisions.…

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