Dr. Mark Komrad: “Psychiatrists prevent suicide, not provide it.”

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Mark Komrad

There are many great doctors working to prevent euthanasia and assisted suicide, but psychiatrist and ethicist, Dr. Mark Komrad, has excelled in his research, leadership, and talking points.

Duke University School of Medicine Alumni Magazine recently featured Dr. Komrad’s career, his accomplishments, and his opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Dr. Komrad told Aliza Inbari, from the Alumni Magazine

“I feel that killing does not belong in the house of medicine, should not be a part of palliative care, and especially not for psychiatric patients. 

“Psychiatrists prevent suicide, not provide it.”

Dr. Komrad was featured in the Fatal Flaws film where he poignantly stated that “if assisted death were done with a gun, then it would be universally seen as wrong.”

Inbari explained the reasons for Dr. Komrad’s opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide:

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in some countries in Europe, Canada, and in several U.S. states. In most places, physician-assisted suicide is allowed only in cases of terminal illness, but a few jurisdictions, notably Belgium and The Netherlands, allow patients with mental illness access to the procedure. Komrad is deeply opposed to the practice. 

“I found it profoundly disturbing that in Belgium and the Netherlands, a significant number of psychiatric patients every year are voluntarily euthanized by their own treating psychiatrists,” says Komrad.

Inbari states how Dr. Komrad’s opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide has changed his life.

The issue has transformed his career from ethicist to activist, and he has become one of the leading figures in the country expressing ethical concerns about this issue. Komrad has addressed the parliaments of Sweden and Norway, met with policymakers in Brazil, and consulted to the government of Canada, and he lectures at conferences and psychiatry departments around the country.

Thank you, Dr. Komrad, for your leadership and dedication.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.