Robert Veatch, PhD

Senior Research Scholar,
Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics

Dr. Veatch is Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics at Georgetown and Senior Research Scholar at the KIE. 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 of the Washington Regional Transplant Community, the organ procurement organization responsible for organ and tissue procurement in the Washington metropolitan area. He is a member of the Ethics Committee and the Vascular Composite Allograft Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national body responsible for procuring organs and regulating all transplant in the United States. He has been a member of numerous Data Safety and Monitoring Boards and Institutional Ethics Committees.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. He received the National Book Award from the National Medical Writers Association for Case Studies in Medical Ethics, the Distinguished Achievement Award of the United Methodist Association (2002), the Research Career Achievement Award from Georgetown University (2005), the Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (2008), and the Distinguished Service Award of St. George’s University School of Medicine (2014). In 2008, he delivered the prestigious Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, speaking on "Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics: The Points of Conflict," now published in book form by Georgetown University Press.In addition to receiving his MA and PhD 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.

Did you know?

Dr. Veatch was recently a featured panelist on the on an hour-long NPR segment dedicated to the issue of organ donation. Host Diane Rehm, together with panelists Dr. Veatch, Dr. Samer Najjar (director of heart failure and the transplant program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center), Walter Graham (President and CEO of the UNOS Foundation), and Dick Teresi (author of “The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers”), discuss how organ recipients are chosen and what potential donors need to know about this complex moral issue.

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