Ezekiel Emanuel No 'Doctor Death'

Reform opponents grossly distort bioethicist's record
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 10:09 AM CDT
Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, special adviser for health care at the Office of Management and Budget, speaks at the American Medical Association's annual conference in Washington, March 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – To hear conservative bloggers tell it, Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, is a bean-counting euthanasia enthusiast who wants to deny care for the disabled. The New York Post dubbed him a “deadly doctor,” and Sarah Palin warned supporters to fear his “Orwellian thinking.” It’s pretty ironic, writes Alex Koppelman for Salon, because Emanuel is one of the country’s top medical ethicists, and staunchly opposes even voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

“Legalizing euthanasia … would be of no benefit,” Emanuel once wrote. “It would be a way of avoiding the complex and arduous efforts required of doctors…to ensure that dying patients receive humane, dignified care.” A much-quoted Post op-ed takes many of Emanuel’s other statements out of context, implying that, among other things, he supported “communitarianism,” or reserving care for the able-bodied. In context, Emanuel explicitly said he was only examining, not defending, the philosophy.