Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stephen Gey: A Dying Law Professor's Last Class

Gey_2I previously have blogged (here and here) the tragic news that one of the true giants and nicest people in our business, Steven G. Gey, David and Deborah Fonvielle and Donald and Janet Hinkle Professor of Law at Florida State, is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Please take the time to read the incredible story in the St. Petersburg Times, ALS Saps Professor's Strength, Not His Ideals: A Dying Professor Believes in the Law. His Students Believe in God. The Only Faith They Share Is In Each Other, by John Barry.  (Hat Tip:  Brian Leiter.)

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When I was in medical school, one of my professors had ALS. Each year he would lecture us and show increasing disability. The first year, he walked on his own. The second, he walked using crutches. The third, he was in a wheel chair. He died shortly after I graduated. Before he died, he wrote one of the most insightful articles I have ever read on observing how people react to a dying colleague, particularly in medicine. If you have access to a medical library, I recommend the following article:

Rabin D, Rabin PL, Rabin R.Occasional notes. Compounding the ordeal of ALS: Isolation from my fellow physicians.N Engl J Med. 1982 Aug 19;307(8):506-9.

Dr. Rabin was a great physician and a great teacher. I was saddened to recognize myself in the article he wrote.

Posted by: William Oliver | May 15, 2008 4:44:26 PM

Great article. Sounds like a person anyone would have loved as a prof. Interesting that in the comments the Christians have nothing but love to express for the atheist professor, while the atheists express mostly hatred and contempt for Christians. And the atheists are factually incorrect. There is no law against embryonic stem cell research being privately (non-gov) funded, and there is little evidence that embryonic stem cells (versus) adult are effective in ALS or other diseases.

Posted by: coniston | May 15, 2008 6:02:29 PM

What a tribute to one who gave so much to all those around him. Eternity will tell the rest of the story. I pray for this wonderful man, that he may have peace in Jesus Christ, and that his eternity will be perfection, and all he expected from a loving God.

My prayers go with him, too.l

Posted by: May Pelletier | May 15, 2008 6:39:14 PM

Just graduated FSU law this spring, and while he was unable to make it to the commencement, he was there in spirit, and the class wanted to include him by playing a video clip from an old address he gave. Its on youtube and is a nice representation of his work and life. Here is the link
He will be missed.

Posted by: Travis | May 16, 2008 1:00:24 PM