Tiger of the Week: Mark Siegler ’63

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Mark Siegler ’63, M.D. (Dan Dry for the University of Chicago Medical Center)

Working with critically ill patients as a young doctor in the intensive care unit of a Chicago hospital in the early 1970s, Mark Siegler ’63 found himself confronting a range of ethical issues, including end-of-life care and decision making within the doctor-patient relationship. Siegler and his mentor, Dr. Alvan Feinstein, began to think about – and write about – what they called "clinical ethics," developing an important field within the study of medicine.

Since 1984, Siegler has directed the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, the nation’s first program devoted to clinical ethics, and this weekend, the pioneering ethicist will receive a lifetime achievement award from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, in recognition of his insightful contributions to the field.

Clinical ethics is grounded "in medicine as practice," Siegler explained in a recent news release. "Its intellectual foundation derives from the doctor-patient encounter and the nature and goals of medicine rather than from ethical theory based on philosophy, theology, or law," he said. Siegler is the author of five books, including the popular textbook Clinical Ethics: A Practical Approach to Ethical Decisions in Clinical Medicine.

An English major and honors graduate at Princeton, Siegler studied medicine at the University of Chicago, where he also served as an intern, resident, and chief resident. He was a Princeton trustee from 2006 to 2010 and is currently the Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Chicago.

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