Below are links to articles and essays I have written.
Mental health, bioethics, philosophy, religion, society, culture.
"It has been almost twenty years since I dissected a dead human body. It still seems strange: My first encounter with a human body to learn the art of healing was an encounter with a corpse. What is more, I took this body to pieces. In any other context, this act would have been a felony..."
DYING OF DESPAIR
"On November 4, 2014, sixteen-year-old Cameron Lee, a popular, athletic, straight-A student at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, leapt in front of a commuter train. His suicide note provided no clear reason for his act; there were no apparent signs of mental illness, and he was not a bullied misfit."
May 8, 2017
The typical suicidal person is not a tragic figure fated for self-destruction, but a vulnerable individual suffering treatable mental health problems. 13 Reasons Why portrays suicide inaccurately and irresponsibly.
APOSTOLATE OF DEATH
"On November 1, after posting a Facebook message stating, 'Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer,' twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard took a lethal dose of barbiturates, prescribed by an Oregon physician, and ended her own life."
THE DANGEROUSLY CONTAGIOUS EFFECT OF ASSISTED-SUICIDE LAWS
November 20, 2015
The debate over doctor-assisted suicide is often framed as an issue of personal autonomy and privacy. Proponents argue that assisted suicide should be legalized because it affects only those individuals who — assuming they are of sound mind — are making a rational and deliberate choice to end their lives. But presenting the issue in this way ignores the wider social consequences. What if it turns out that the individuals who make this choice in fact are influencing the actions of those who follow?
WHY ARE DOCTORS AFRAID OF THE WORD “DEATH”?
THE WASHINGTON POST
October 26, 2015
When I began as a medical student on the wards, I discovered that there was a word that physicians almost never used. In fact, they often played elaborate language games to avoid it. My first encounter with this occurred one night on call. The resident and I were eating dinner in the cafeteria when he got a page. He excused himself saying, “I need to go declare a patient …” I remember thinking, “You need to ‘declare’ a patient … what?” He avoided saying that he was going to declare a patient dead.
THE ERA OF THE NARCISSIST
February 16, 2010
"'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' saith the preacher. 'Hell, yeah, I’m hot!' saith the Facebook home page. This is vanity on steroids, and it is becoming the norm.... Either we will become the salt and light that purge and dispel the insipid narcissism that surrounds us, or our culture will continue to descend deeper into the loud, crass, and aggressive cult of self-worship."