Dr. David Orentlicher Combines His Medical Expertise and Legal Knowledge on Multiple Projects

Dr. David Orentlicher has authored two recent pieces on physician-assisted suicide, most recently Aid in Dying in Canada and the United States: Are US States Too Cautious? in The American Journal of Bioethics. In this piece and another article published in late summer, Accommodating Aid-in-Dying Safeguards for Patients with Neurologic Disease, he discusses the question of whether the laws surrounding this topic should be revised. 

"When I practiced medicine, end-of-life ethics was a question that came up regularly," shares Dr. Orentlicher. "On the legal side, the questions are, 'What kind of life-ending actions are permitted? How does a patient's constitutional right to refuse treatment come into play?'" At this time, the US Supreme Court has not permitted aiding dying, although ten states plus DC have legislation that allows it. 

Dr. Orentlicher is also the co-author of a health law casebook in its 10th edition, which is due to be published in March. In addition to a new constitutional law casebook, he is working on another longer-term project. "I'm interested in constitutional law in general, especially our partisan polarization and how we can address it with legal reform." He points to how the US is unlike countries in the EU—but a lot like the UK—in that we have a "winner-take-all" political system. "With this, it encourages each side to fight bitterly to be the winner,” as opposed to a system in which power is shared and "everyone gets something that they want." His work looks at ways the US can learn from other countries to work across party lines with more of a bipartisan effort.