Preface

By Bopp, James, Jr. | Issues in Law & Medicine, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Preface


Bopp, James, Jr., Issues in Law & Medicine


In the featured article, D. Alan Shewmon, M.D., medical professor and pediatric neurologist, poses the question: Why is a patient with a destroyed brain considered dead rather than moribund and irreversibly comatose? The world has been grappling with this question for the past four decades with little success. The recently released white paper of the President's Council on Bioethics is in many respects a refreshing, thoughtful, and comprehensive reexamination of this complex topic. The white paper offers a very helpful analysis of the major positions on the determination of death, and it proffers a creative new solution of its own. Dr. Shewmon explains how the new solution does not put the problem to rest.

The Verbatim section has three parts. First, it includes the chapter entitled "The Philosophical Debate" from the President's Council on Bioethics Controversies in the Determination of Death, as cited extensively by Dr. Shewmon in his article. Second, it has the Brief Amicus Curiae in Robert Baxter versus State of Montana in the Montana Supreme Court, which is reviewing the trial court's holding that there is a state constitutional right to assisted suicide. Amici are The International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, psychiatrist Dr. …

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