Thursday, June 26, 2008

Australia loses top bioethicist, disability scholar Christopher Newell

Christopher Newell

The international disability studies community has lost another important contributor, bioethicist Christopher Newell, 44, of Tasmania, Australia. I never met him, but talked to him on the phone about our mutual research interests when I was in Australia in 2004. A fine man and a top scholar.

He was also an Anglican priest and the son of former Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Phillip Newell.

His obituary in the Mercury in Tasmania says:

Newell received an Order of Australia medal in 2001 for services to people with disabilities, to health consumers and the development and practice of ethics. On
receiving the award Dr. Newell joked about why he was worthy of such an honour.

"Why would they give me this? I am a stirrer, I ask questions," Dr. Newell said in a 2001 interview with The Mercury.

As a senior lecturer in medical ethics at the University of Tasmania Medical School, many of Dr Newell's questions saw him labelled as an opponent of euthanasia.

However, he simply claimed euthanasia served to highlight the inadequacies of funding of palliative care.

He was best known in international disability studies circles as a bioethicist and co-author (with frequent collaborator Gerard Goggin) of the 2005 book Disability in Australia: Exposing a Social Aparteid.

Here's a list of some of his other important publications: