Robert Veatch, MA, MS, PhD Dr. Humane Letters (Hon.)

Professor of Medical Ethics,
Georgetown University, Kennedy Institute of Medicine and

Visiting Lecturer, Proseminar Health and Human Values,
The Bioethics Program

Death and dying
Human experimentation
Organ transplantation


Robert Veatch is a Professor of Medical Ethics and the former Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He also holds appointments as Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Georgetown's Medical Center. He has been a visiting lecturer in the Union College/Union Graduate College Health and Human Values program for almost three decades.

His recent books include The Basics of Bioethics and Disrupted Dialogue: Medical Ethics and the Collapse of Physician-Humanist Communication (1770-1980), and the third edition of Case Studies in Nursing Ethics. He is the Senior Editor of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal and a former member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Veatch received a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Purdue University (1961), a Masters of Science in Pharmacology from the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco (1962), and a Ph.D. concentrating in medical ethics from Harvard University in 1970. In 1999, he received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Creighton University and in 2004 an honorary doctor of human letters from Union Graduate College.

He was formerly the Senior Associate at the Hastings Center in New York. Dr. Veatch served as an ethics consultant in the preparation of the 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, the anencephalic infant whose mother insisted on the right of access to ventilatory support. He served as President of the Board of Directors of Hospice Care of the District of Columbia, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium, and former member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Ethics Committee.


Recent Publications

Robert VeatchDisrupted Dialogue: Medical Ethics and the Collapse of Physician-Humanist Communication (1770-1980, New York, Oxford University Press 2005 (Review by R. Baker) 

Robert Veatch [Co-authored with James T. Rule]. Ethical Questions in Dentistry, second edition. Chicago, IL: Quintessence Publishing Co., Inc., 2004. 

Robert Veatch“Is There A Common Morality?” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. 2003; 13 (3): 189-192. 

Robert VeatchThe Basics of Bioethics, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2000. Second edition 2003. 

Robert Veatch and Franklin G. Miller. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: The Internal Morality of Medicine. Dordrecht, Holland: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers, 2001. 

Robert Veatch. Transplantation Ethics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2000.


Recent Activities

May 18, 2006: Robert M. Veatch, professor of medical ethics, commented on organ donation on Fox News. “We’re not going to get many more organs by making small adjustments to the current system.” 

June 5, 2005 Veatch Quoted Extensively in Asian Press Robert Veatch received media attention in Asia for his push for international and universal standards of bioethics. Speaking at a conference at Seoul’s Catholic University, Veatch was quoted extensively in Asia News, Korea Times and other media outlet 

Washington Post 6/27/2005: The Washington Post interviewed Robert Veatch, about a pregnant woman in Virginia who is clinically brain dead but whose vital functions are being sustained in order to give her premature fetus as much time as possible before he is removed from the womb: 

The question became whether to try to keep her body functioning with machines so the fetus could grow, an ethical scenario akin to organ donation, said Robert Veatch ... In this decision, he and others said, it is Susan Torres's desires and values, as expressed by her or as divined by her husband, that are given the most weight, in light of the fetus's chances of survival. 


A Liquor Maker Keeps a Close Watch on Its Ads June 27, 2005, The Washington Post 




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