Last updated on: 11/1/2011 | Author: ProCon.org

Pieter Admiraal, MD, PhD Biography

Title:
Dutch euthanasia activist and anesthesiologist
Position:
Pro to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
Reasoning:

“The opponents of euthanasia say that every human being has only one wish: to survive and to live. So if a patient asks to end his life there can be only one explanation: she or he must be depressed. And, indeed, these doctors prescribe anti-depressant drugs in high doses. But, in my opinion, these doctors are unobservant and seem to be more preoccupied with their own concerns than with serving the needs of their patients. To send a terminally ill patient to a psychiatrist is an insult…

The way we have legalised euthanasia in the Netherlands may be a good example for other countries. After all these years, it is in my honest opinion that every doctor has the duty to help his patients to die with dignity and that he has the right, after thorough deliberation, to do euthanasia at the request of a patient and in his interest, knowing of his responsibility to himself, the patient and the law.

To carry out euthanasia is an emotional and difficult decision. I have seen my patients as friends, and every time I was sad and satisfied after euthanasia: sad to lose a friend and satisfied that I could end the suffering of that friend.”

“Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Doctor’s Perspective,” Giving Death a Helping Hand, Eds. Dieter Birnbacher and Edgar Dahl, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Dutch euthanasia activist
  • Retired anesthesiologist
  • Honorary Associate, Rationalist International
  • Member, Euthanasia Committee and Pain Committee, Health Council of The Netherlands
  • Honorary Associate Medical Staff, Reinier de Graaf Hospital
  • Honorary Associate, Dutch Society for Voluntary Euthanasia
  • Honorary Associate, Dutch Society of Anesthesiology
  • Health Profesional, 2006 World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies
  • President, Society for the Scientific Study of Rational Suicide
  • Founder and First President, Dutch Society for the Study of Pain
  • Former President, Dutch Society of Anesthesiology
  • Humanist Laureate, International Academy of Humanism, Council for Secular Humanism
  • Recipient, Humanist Award, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
  • Recipient, Janet Good Memorial Award, Hemlock Society, USA, 2000
  • Recipient, Officer Oranje Nassau Royal decoration, 1994
Education:
  • PhD, Erasmus University, 1972
  • MD, University of Utrecht, 1956
Other:
  • Born in 1929
  • Has written guidelines for humane suicide in Dutch, English, German, and French