- Chair of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health
- Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
“The proper policy, in my view, should be to affirm the status of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as illegal. In so doing we would affirm that as a society we condemn ending a patient’s life and do not consider that to have one’s life ended by a doctor is a right. This does not mean we deny that in exceptional cases interventions are appropriate, as acts of desperation when all other elements of treatment- all medications, surgical procedures, psychotherapy, spiritual care, and so on- have been tried. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia should not be performed simply because a patient is depressed, tired of life, worried about being a burden, or worried about being dependent. All these may be signs that not every effort has yet been made.
By establishing a social policy that keeps physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal but recognizes exceptions, we would adopt the correct moral view: the onus of proving that everything had been tried and that the motivation and rationale were convincing would rest on those who wanted to end a life.”
“Whose Right to Die?,” The Atlantic, Mar. 1997
- Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to end-of-life issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to end-of-life.
- Involvement and Affiliations:
- Chair, Department of Bioethics, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1997-present
- President, NIH Assembly of Scientists, 2004-present
- Member, Advisory Board, Humana, 2007
- Member, Advisory Committee on Health Care Reform Initiative, Mayo Clinic, 2006
- Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2004
- Chair, Ethics Committee, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2003–2004
- Chair, Task Force on Quality of Cancer Care, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2000-2004
- Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2002-2003
- Chair, Task Force on Conflict of Interest, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 1999-2002
- Chair, Committee to Develop Ethical Guidelines Academy/Health, Society of Health Services Researchers, 2002-2003
- Member, Medical Advisory Board, Cancer Care, Inc., 2000
- Member, National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 1996-1998
- Member, President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force, 1993
- Former Member, Editorial Board for: Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of Clinical Ethics, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
- PhD, Political Philosophy, Harvard University, 1989
- MD, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, 1988
- MSc, Biochemistry, Exeter College, Oxford University, 1981
- BA, Chemistry, Amherst College, 1979
- Developed the Medical Directive, a comprehensive living will that has been endorsed by Consumer Reports on Health, Harvard Health Letter, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal
- Quoted in:
- Would Financial Motivations Encourage Insurance Companies and Health Care Providers to Promote Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide?
- Is There a Moral Difference between Passive Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide?
- Is There a Moral Difference between Passive and Active Euthanasia?
- How Common Is It for Physicians to Participate in Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, despite the Legal Prohibition against Them?