Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
"As soon as Terri Schiavo's case moved into the law courts of Florida, the concept of 'life under altered circumstances' went by the boards--and so, necessarily, did any consideration of how to serve such life...
Terri Schiavo's husband and his clinical and legal advisers, believing that hers was now a life unworthy of life, sought, and achieved, its annihilation. Claiming to respect her undocumented wish not to live dependently, they were willing to have her suffer pain and, by specific force of law, to block her caregivers from offering her oral feedings of the kind provided to all terminal patients in a hospice-even to the point of prohibiting mouth-soothing ice chips. Everything else flowed from there. How could such a thing happen? This, after all, is not Nazi Germany... But we in this country have our own, homegrown culture of death, whose face is legal and moral and benignly individualistic rather than authoritarian and pseudo-scientific...
Contemporary bioethics has become a natural ally of the culture of death, but the culture of death itself is a perennial human temptation; for onlookers in particular, it offers a reassuring answer ('this is how X would have wanted it') to otherwise excruciating dilemmas, and it can be rationalized every which way till Sunday. In Terri Schiavo's case, it is what won out over the hospice's culture of life..."
"Annihilating Terri Schiavo," Commentary Magazine, June 2005
Experts MDs, JDs (Lawyers), PhDs and Religious Leaders with significant involvement in end-of-life issues. [Because end-of-life dilemmas require medical, ethical, legal, and in some case religious considerations, we view MDs, PhDs with a bio-ethical focus, and JDs/religious leaders with significant involvement as "experts" in the euthanasia debate.] [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins, 1975-2001
Henry Phipps Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1975-2001