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International Bioethics Policy: Death, Dying & Euthanasia: Netherlands & the USA (BETH 315G/415G)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring (May Abroad)
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: CWRU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type:
Faculty Led Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Housing Options: Hotel
Minimum GPA: 2.0 Credit Type: Graduate, Non-Credit, Undergraduate
Number of Credits: 3 Program Advisor: Michelle Champoir, Bioethics
Courses Offered: Bioethics Case Credit Type: Engineering Humanities Credit, Global and Diversity Credit
Deposit: $200
Total Program Cost:
Included in Program Cost: Admission fees, breakfasts, Housing Not Included in Program Costs: Dinner, Flights, Lunch, Passport Fees, Visa fees
Program Purpose: Study
Program Description:

Course Dates: May 11-22, 2015; Lodging will be booked for May 9-23, 2015.

Instructors: Stuart J. Youngner, M.D.

Is it ever permissible for physicians to kill their patients?  In the Netherlands, the answer is yes.  In the United States, it is no.  Are the Dutch sliding down a moral slippery slope?  Are the Americans compromising the rights and dignity of dying patients?  This 3-credit course is a unique opportunity to examine a range of Dutch and American end-of-life policies and practices with special focus on the unique ethical, cultural, religious, and legal contexts in which they developed. It will be taught by scholars whose work in end-of-life care has received international recognition.

Course Aims and Objectives

This course will compare how two liberal democracies, the United States and the Netherlands, have handled difficult end-of-life issues, including:
  • The Dutch regulation of euthanasia;
  • Regulation of physician-assisted suicide in the state of Oregon;
  • Terminal sedation;
  • End-of-life decisions in newborns;
  • Withholding and withdrawing of artificially provided fluids and nutrition;
  • The legal basis for end-of-life decision making in the USA;
  • Palliative care and hospice;
  • Public trust in medicine and physicians. 
In the United States, teaching methods will include lectures, case discussion, and exposure to how some of the course’s themes are reflected in popular culture such as movies.

In the Netherlands, teaching methods will include lecture, and discussion of actual cases of Euthanasia that have come to the attention of the formal Dutch Review Committees retrospectively.  Here students will form “mock” committees and review these actual cases using the Dutch legal framework.  Similarly, students will act as “mock” consultants, giving opinions on cases prospectively presented by physicians who wish to proceed with euthanasia. 

To gain insight into the unique Dutch attitude toward end-of-life practices, students will learn about the uniqueness of Dutch national development and culture through: guided walking city historic tours, lectures, and site visits to the Hague (where they will meet with members of the Health Ministry’s Ethics Committee); the red light district (tour led by head of prostitute’s union) and a shop where cannabis is legally sold (perspective of shop owner).  Students will be encouraged to contemplate and discuss how culture, history, and social factors have influenced the contrasting policies in the United States and the Netherlands.  They will also be asked to explore how becoming familiar with Dutch policies toward intractable social problems has influenced their own thinking on these matters and how it has challenged their own cultural assumptions.


This program is currently not accepting applications.