MercatorNet: promoting human dignity

Michael Cook

Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia. Currently he is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science and contributes occasional op-ed pieces to newspapers and websites in the US, UK and Australia.

A taste for death—but not mercy killing
26 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: assisted suicide, mercy killing

The illustrious English crime writer and Conservative peer P.D.James may make her living by imagining murders, but she has no time for euthanasia (although she does not oppose suicide). In a delightful interview with the Observer, the 91-year-old author answered questions from readers and other writers. Here are some excerpts.

Behind Colorado’s Dark Knight massacre
24 Jul 2012 | FEATURES |  
tags: individualism, massacres, tragedies
Why do well-educated men in a prosperous, progressive, democratic society still go on murderous rampages?

Doubts emerge about Dutch guidelines for terminal sedation
23 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: euthanasia, Netherlands, palliative sedation, terminal sedation
Should deep, continuous sedation at the end of life really be treated as normal medical practice in the Netherlands, ask three Dutch authors in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Although they do not appear to oppose euthanasia, they argue that “morally problematic aspects inherent to palliative sedation do not get the attention they deserve” under current guidelines. Since palliative sedation accounted for more than 12% of deaths in the Netherlands in 2010, this is an important issue.

Right-to-die movement has split into two warring camps, says Nitschke
20 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: deliverance machine, peaceful pill, Philip Nitschke
The right-to-die movement has split into two warring camps, according to Australian euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke. Speaking at the annual conference of right-to-die societies in Zurich, he complained that half of the world federation’s board were critical of his attempts to create a do-it-yourself suicide technology.

The link between rented wombs and gay marriage
19 Jul 2012 | FEATURES |  
tags: bioethics, same-sex marriage, surrogacy
If marriage leads to children, same-sex marriage must inevitably lead to surrogacy and exploitation.

Single motherhood: hard row to hoe
19 Jul 2012 | FAMILY EDGE |  
tags: single motherhood
Being a single mother is no fun, the New York Times discovers in this video report. Maybe marriage is a good idea, after all.

Canada’s A-G to appeal assisted suicide decision
17 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: assisted suicide, Canada
Canada's Attorney General, Rob Nicholson, announced this week that he will appeal to the country's Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court that bans on assisted suicide were unconstitutional.

Muddled picture of Dutch euthanasia
16 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Netherlands, terminal sedation
Euthanasia in the Netherlands is nothing much to worry about, according to The Lancet. The latest survey shows that the overall levels of euthanasia and assisted suicide are about the same now as they were in 2002, when euthanasia was legalised. A small increase since 2005 is just due to the fact that more people are requesting euthanasia. At least that was the spin in The Lancet's press release.

New Prius helps environment, says The Onion
tags: environment, pollution
Um, well this video is The Onion's take on green-friendly technology. Why do we need people anyway? Don't they just pollute too much? Spoiler: only for people who enjoy tasteless humour.

Does Queensland have another “Doctor Death”?
15 Jul 2012 | CAREFUL! |  
tags: Australia, intense care, Queensland
After the international publicity given to "Doctor Death", Jayant Patel, a surgeon who was jailed for seven years for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, the last thing the Australian state of Queensland needs is bad publicity about bad doctors. However, the state government is investigating reports that a hospital doctor was responsible for several deaths.

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