Erich H. Loewy, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Dr. Erich H. Loewy was born in Vienna, Austria in 1927 and was able to escape first to England and then to the U.S. in late 1938. He was initially trained as a cardiologist. He taught at Case Western Reserve and practiced in Cleveland, Ohio. After 14 years he devoted himself fully to Bioethics and taught at the University of Illinois for 12 years. In 1996 he was selected as the first endowed Alumni Association Chair of Bioethics at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and has taught there since. Dr. Loewy has published widely —books, book chapters and journal articles —both in English and German. Textbook of Healthcare Ethics; Moral Strangers, Moral Acquaintance, and Moral Friends; and together with Dr. Roberta Loewy The Ethics of Terminal Care, Changing Health Care Systems from Ethical, Economic and Cross-Cultural Perspectives and a comprehensively revised 2nd edition of Textbook of Healthcare Ethics (due out autumn, 2003) are among his more recent books. He is frequently sought out as a teacher and guest lecturer both here and abroad. Dr. Loewy’s research interests include:
- Social ethics and problems of justice
- Ethical theory
- Healthcare systems and allocation
- The problems of clinical medical ethics
- Ethical issues in the rapidly developing field of genomics, including the use of stem-cells, cloning, etc.
Currently he is working on a book dealing with the role of emotion, aesthetics and reason in the making of ethical judgments. In addition to receiving the international Parazelsusring award, Dr. Loewy will be the recipient of two more international awards in the autumn of 2003 (see descriptions below):
Born and raised in Villach in the Austrian empire, Parazelsus (1493-1541) was, in many respects, the father of pharmacology. He also was a philosopher and a man who, in an age of intolerance, sought tolerance towards other religions (in this case the rise of Protestantism). Parazelsus had an inquiring mind, which made him incredibly knowledgeable in a number of fields. He stood for inquiry, freedom of religion and taught physicians to substitute pharmacology for alchemy. But above all he stood for tolerance towards other ways of thinking.
A prize in his name was established and over the years has gone to persons from many other disciplines in addition to medicine. Awarded every two or three years (not merely to Austrians but internationally) to someone who has made significant contributions to our knowledge that has helped human beings. Although often given to physicians it has been awarded to diverse others such as Werner Heisenberg and Konrad Lorenz. It was awarded to Dr. Loewy in 2001.
"Das Golgene Ehrenkreutz erster Klasse der Stadt/Landt Wien" (The city of and State of Vienna, Austria, This is given by the State/City of Vienna for services rendered to the city and state).
This is the highest Civilian decoration that can be given. It roughly corresponds to the Medal of Freedom. In this instance it was awarded to Dr. Loewy for introducing Health-Care Ethics as a discipline (1991) and writing a "white paper" requested by Parliament to urge the teaching of Geriatrics, Palliative Care and Health Care Ethics as mandatory courses in Austrian Medical Schools. Several years ago Parliament passed a law that makes the teaching of these disciplines mandatory and established chairs in each of these disciplines—all by the year 2004. In addition, the insignia was awarded for being politically active in opposing those who would threaten democracy in Austria. It will be formally given in a ceremony in the autumn of 2003.
"Preis für humanistische Altersforschung" (Prize for humanistic studies into aging)
This prize is given to whoever is voted for by the Austrian Geriatric Society for achievements in Geriatrics that are not "medical" but rather broadly humanistic and social. Nominated by Dr. Böhmer (the current President) it was voted upon and is to be officially presented to Dr. Loewy in October 2003 based upon his academic activities in Geriatric Hospitals, including the development of effective ethics committees and continuing medical education to personnel working in these areas.
"Das Goldene Ehrenzeichen erster Klasse für Verdientse an der Republik Österreich" (Golden sign on honour for services rendered to teh Republic of Astria)