Medical Ethics expert
A Medical Ethics expert has joined Lancaster University as Professor of Medical Law.
Professor Hazel Biggs has joined the University’s Law Department from Kent Law School where she had worked since 1992.
Her research interests include euthanasia and family law (surrogacy, reproduction and reproductive technology) as well as malpractice, medical negligence and medical research.
Professor Biggs began her career as a Radiographer in the NHS, becoming one of the first people to qualify to operate an ultrasound scanner in the country. She left the NHS in her mid 20’s to study Law at Kent University Law School – completing a PhD on euthanasia and going on to teach at the school.
Today, due to cases such as Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who died this year when her feeding tube was removed after a lengthy legal battle, euthanasia is high on the media agenda but Professor Biggs said when she began to specialise in this area of law it was just becoming a hot topic.
“People were becoming interested in the law and euthanasia about that time because of the Tony Bland case.” (Hillsborough football disaster victim Tony Bland became the subject of a lengthy legal battle before his feeding tube was removed and he was allowed to die in 1993.)
She added: “Medical Law and Ethics is a fascinating area to work in because it is constantly evolving. Most people have an opinion on subjects such as euthanasia and they have a real impact on people’s lives.”
The mother of three sons said she was looking forward to working at Lancaster and to building links in her specialist areas both within the University and beyond.
“Lancaster is a fine University with a great research reputation. There will be plenty of opportunity to collaborate with colleagues working in similar fields in other departments such as the Institute for Health Research and Sociology and particularly CESAGEN – the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics. I would also like to look into forging links with the local NHS.”
Some of her recent publications include:
Euthanasia, Death with Dignity and the Law (Oxford: Hart, 2001).
'Euthanasia and Death with Dignity: Still Poised on the Fulcrum of Homicide' (1996) Criminal Law Review, pp. 878-888.
'Madonna Minus Child, or Wanted Dead or Alive! The Right to Have a Dead Partner's Child' (1997) 5/2 Feminist Legal Studies, pp. 225-234.
'I Don't Want to be a Burden! A Feminist Reflects on Women's Experiences of Death and Dying' in S. Sheldon, M. Thomson (eds) Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (1998) Cavendish, pp. 279-295.