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."
Experts 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