Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Sulmasy, DanielRubenfeld, Sheldon

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Collection (Essays)

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Nov-01-2022
  • Last revised: Nov-01-2022


Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, edited by Shelton Rubenfeld and Daniel Sulmasy, is an unusual collection of scholarly essays in that it combines essays about Nazi euthanasia with others that deal with contemporary PAD (Physician Aid in Dying) and questions whether there might be a relationship between the two. This perspective is understandable, given the book’s origin. The Center for Medicine after the Holocaust, an organization with the mission “to challenge doctors, nurses, and bioethicists to personally confront the medical ethics of the Holocaust and to apply that knowledge to contemporary practice and research,” invited a group of North American and Israeli palliative care specialists and medical ethicists in 2018 to visit German sites associated with Third Reich euthanasia programs.  The intensive discussions that followed resulted in this provocative collection of papers.  

Dr. Timothy Quill is among the writers supporting the moral probity and legalization of PAD, while Drs. Diane Meier and Daniel Sulmasy present strong arguments against the practice.


Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia offers thoughtful reflections of a group of scholars and palliative care physicians on involuntary euthanasia of “defective” persons, a concept that was endorsed by a large percentage of physicians in the Third Reich. While they are mostly successful in distinguishing this eugenics-based practice from contemporary voluntary PAD, some envision a slippery slope by which safeguards will decrease and non-autonomous persons will qualify for PAD in their own “best interest.” This is a stimulating, but sobering, book.


Lexington Books

Place Published




Page Count