Michael Henry Knox Irwin (born 5 June 1931) is an ex- GP and former volunteer with the United Nations. He is a humanist and secularist activist, and a campaigner for voluntary euthanasia. He was struck off the GPs’ register in the UK after being found guilty of deception, for supplying a patient with 60 sleeping pills to kill himself in 2003.
Michael Irwin married Elizabeth Naumann in 1958; the marriage was dissolved in 1982. He married Frederica Harlow in 1983. His current partner is Angela Farmer.
Michael Irwin has three daughters.
Irwin was trained at St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, London (graduating in 1955), and at Columbia University, New York. He gained his masters degree in public health from the latter in 1960.
He worked at Prince of Wales Hospital, London, from 1955-1956. In 1957 he became Medical Officer at the United Nations. In 1961 he worked with the UN in Pakistan, returning to his Medical Officer post in 1963 and rising to become Medical Director of the United Nations in 1969. He became Director of personnel at the United Nations Development Programme in 1973.
In March 1990 Irwin resigned from the World Bank, writing a letter to the Wall Street Journal which detailed his complaints about the Bank . He cited in particular "the Bank's bloated, overpaid bureaucracy, its wasteful practices, and its generally poor management."
In November 1999 Irwin stood as a "Campaign for Living Will Legislation" candidate  in the Kensington and Chelsea parliamentary by-election occasioned by the death of MP Alan Clark. Polling took place on 25 November, and Irwin gained 97 votes, putting him 9th out of 18 candidates. Michael Portillo was elected. For more details see this Wikipedia page.
Irwin, who was President of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies from 2002-2004, and a Director of that organisation from 2004-2006, has also been Chair (1996-1999, 2001-2003) of the British Volunary Euthanasia Society (now known as Dignity in Dying).
In 2003, Irwin hit the headlines after he was arrested following his confession that he had assisted a terminally ill friend to die. No charges followed, but in 2005 he was struck off the medical register after an inquiry by the General Medical Council after being found guilty of deception, dishonesty and forging prescriptions. He has also claimed to have helped at least 50 non-terminally ill patients to die.
Secularism and Humanism
Irwin is a 'distinguished supporter' of the British Humanist Association.
"Family Doctor" Booklets
- Travelling Without Tears. London: British Medical Association, 1964. pp.30.
- The Truth About Cancer. London: British Medical Association, 1969. pp.31.
Public Affairs Pamphlets
- Check-ups: safeguarding your health. no.314. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1961. pp.18.
- Overweight: a problem for millions. no.364. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1964. pp.20.
- Blood: new uses for saving lives. no.377. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1965. pp.28.
- Viruses, Colds, and Flu. no.395. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1966. pp.20.
- What Do We Know About Allergies? no. 486. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1972. pp.28.
- Overweight: a problem for millions. Revised edition. no.364a. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1973. pp.24.
- Aspirin: current knowledge about an old medication. no. 614. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1983. pp.24.
- Can We Survive Nuclear War? no.625. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1984. pp.28.
- Nuclear Energy, Good or Bad? no.629. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1984. pp.29.
- Risks to Health and Safety on the Job. no. 644. New York: Public Affairs Committee, 1986. pp.28.
Criticism of the World Bank
- Banking on Poverty: An Insider's Look at the World Bank, Cato Foreign Policy Briefing 3, 20 September 1990.. Reprinted as Chapter 31 of Danaher, Kevin (1994). 50 Years is Enough: the case against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Boston, MA: South End Press. pp.152-160.
- The Independent
- "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian (London). 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- In praise of... Dr Michael Irwin, Guardian, 4 October 2005
- Euthanasia doctor is struck off, BBC news, 27 September 2005
- Euthanasia campaigner to stand in byelection, British Medical Journal, 30 October 1999
Secularism and Humanism