Boston Globe Columnist Signed Papers Helping Woman Kill Herself While He Was Covering Her Last Days

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A columnist for The Boston Globe recently reported a story about a woman traveling from Connecticut to Vermont to use the state’s physician-assisted suicide law — except he made himself part of the story.

The story notes that to take advantage of Vermont’s physician-assisted suicide law, someone needs two witnesses to sign for the person saying the person is mentally competent enough to decide to kill himself.

While covering the story, Kevin Cullen was one of the two people who signed a form for this woman last summer, allowing her to eventually kill herself on January 4, 2024.

Bluestein had ovarian cancer for three years; Cullen’s column said it was terminal and that she was a vocal advocate for physician-assisted suicide.

However, an editor’s note released by The Boston Globe, while attempting to defend Cullen’s actions, says he now regrets his decision.

Here is what the editor’s note from executive editor Nancy Barnes said:


The right to die has long been a controversial issue in many societies, and especially in some religious communities.

Last year, Globe reporter and columnist Kevin Cullen and photographer Jessica Rinaldi set out to chronicle Connecticut resident Lynda Bluestein on her mission to die on her own terms in Vermont, which has a “medical aid in dying” provision. Our intent was not to advocate for this issue, but to share an important perspective and a very personal, albeit wrenching, story.

Vermont’s law required two witnesses to sign a form attesting that Bluestein was in a clear state of mind when she made this decision, and they could not be family members, doctors, any beneficiaries, a nursing home owner or employee, etc.

Bluestein, with the support of her doctor, asked two people who were with her on July 10 to attest to this for her. Reporter Kevin Cullen was one of those people and he agreed to do so — a decision Cullen regrets. It is a violation of Globe standards for a reporter to insert themselves into a story they are covering. That it was intended primarily as a gesture of consideration and courtesy does not alter that it was out of bounds.

After reviewing these details, we have concluded that this error did not meaningfully impact the outcome of this story — Bluestein died on Jan. 4 and she likely would have found another signatory in the months before then. For that reason, we chose to publish this powerful story, which includes exceptional photojournalism, while also sharing these details in full transparency.


Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill into law in May 2023 that removed the residency requirement from the state’s physician-assisted suicide law. It made Vermont the second state to do this; Oregon was the first.

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in 10 states, but Massachusetts is not one of them. Bay State voters narrowly rejected a referendum 51 percent to 49 percent that would have legalized the life-ending practice in 2012. 

To be eligible for physician-assisted suicide in Vermont, a person must meet the following criteria, according to Vermont Ethics Network:


  • Be at least 18 year of age or older

  • Have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live

  • Be capable of making own health care decisions

  • Be able to make an informed and voluntary request to a physician

  • Be able to self-administer the medication


This is not the first controversy for Cullen at the liberal publication. Notably, The Boston Globe suspended him in 2018 for repeatedly saying that he was at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing when it happened in 2013, which he later admitted is not true.

Cullen could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.


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