Last updated on: 2/4/2009 | Author:

Farr A. Curlin, MD Biography

Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

“When my cousin Jay was born, the doctors said, in so many words, that his diagnosis and prognosis were certain: severe spina bifida, a very poor quality of life, and no hope of improvement. Jay did suffer. He suffered 26 surgeries and all of the indignities that follow from paralysis, incontinence, and bodily disfigurement. Moreover, like the rest of us, Jay never became fully self-sufficient.

Yet Jay bore his suffering with irrepressible hope and good humor that inspired and encouraged innumerable people who had the privilege of knowing him. When he died three days before his 14th birthday, 2000 people attended the funeral to celebrate Jay’s uncommonly rich life. A passerby commented, ‘Someone important must have died.’

With different parents, Jay could have qualified for the Groningen protocol. Doctors might have ‘performed a deliberate life-ending procedure’ in Jay after making claims no mortal can sustain — that his prognosis was ‘certain,’ and his suffering was ‘hopeless and unbearable.’ Those of us who knew Jay are glad there was no such opportunity.”

Letter to the Editor, The New England Journal of Medicine, June 2, 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Department of Medicine
  • General Internal Medicine Practice, University of Chicago Medical Center, 2001-Present
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, 1998-2001
  • Member, Society of General Internal Medicine
  • Recipient, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
  • Recipient, Terri Brenneman Award for “the graduating student who has most demonstrated a commitment to the underserved”
  • Recipient, Cecil G. Sheps Award in Social Medicine
  • Recipient, Norris Brookens Award, Outstanding Internal Medical Resident
  • BA, Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992
  • MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998
  • None found