An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Attorney General Eric Holder and Leaders of Congress

Robert M. Veatch

Professor of Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University

Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., is Professor of Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Georgetown. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Community and Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. In addition to receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Society (medical ethics) from Harvard University, Dr. Veatch holds a master's degree in Pharmacology from the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. His primary research interests include transplantation ethics, ethical issues in death and dying, and issues of consent in therapy and human subjects research.

A long-time Fellow of the Hastings Center, Dr. Veatch also has served, since 1988, as a Member of the Governing Board and the Medical Advisory Committee of the Washington Regional Transplant Community, the organ procurement organization responsible for organ and tissue procurement in the Washington metropolitan area. One of the pioneers of contemporary medical ethics, Dr. Veatch served as an ethics consultant in the early legal case of Karen Ann Quinlan, the woman whose parents won the right to forgo life-support (1975-76), and testified in the case of Baby K, an anencephalic infant whose mother argued for a right of access to continued ventilatory support (1994). From 1981 to 1982, he served as a consultant to the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

Dr. Veatch is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including Death, Dying, and the Biological Revolution; A Theory of Medical Ethics; The Foundations of Justice; Transplantation Ethics; Disrupted Dialogue: Medical Ethics and the Collapse of Physician/Humanist Connection; and, recently, Patient, Heal Thyself: How the "New" Medicine Puts the Patient in Charge