Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel Explains Why Death at 75 is Right for Him

The doctor says he doesn't want to be one of the 'American immortals.'

ByABC News
September 21, 2014, 12:06 PM
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on 'This Week'
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on 'This Week'
ABC News

September 21, 2014 — -- During an interview with ABC News, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel -- citing the increased chance of Alzheimer's disease among other quality of life factors -- outlined why he wants to die at 75.

“I look at the data on disability, I look at the data on Alzheimer’s disease, I look at the data on loss of creativity. And 75 seems to be the right moment where the chance of disability, physical disability is low, you're still not in the high Alzheimer's risk of 30 percent or 50 percent and creativity has sort of come to an end,” Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, told ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser on “This Week.”

This month Emanuel -- making clear he does not believe in euthanasia -- raised some eyebrows when the Atlantic published an article written by him bearing the title “Why I hope to Die at 75.” He told ABC News that he does not want to be one of the “American immortals.”

“I coined this term called American immortals, people want to do everything crazily to live as long as possible. Take these protein concoctions, change their diet, exercise like mad, that’s trying to put it off, that’s trying to say I am going to live as long as possible,” he said.

“I am trying to say alright you’re going to live in this amount of time. What are you going to do in that amount of time that is meaningful to you, meaningful to your family, meaningful to your community? That’s what I want people to think about,” Emanuel, who is 57, added.

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