Mary Beth Blake, JD
In the early 1980s, a patient would be on a ventilator and the hospital would want a court order to permit removal. Mary Beth Blake, then an attorney for KU Medical Center, would call the judge, who would come to the hospital with his court reporter and all go into the patient’s room with the doctor.
“There might be some assessment of the patient’s wishes,” recalls Mary Beth, who told her friend Karen Ritchie, a psychiatrist, “There’s got to be a better way of doing it.” There was. In 1984, Mary Beth, together with Karen and the late philosopher Hans Uffelmann, co-founded the Center for Practical Bioethics.
Mary Beth recently retired from the Polsinelli law firm in Kansas City, where she was a senior partner focused on healthcare, life sciences, senior housing and long-term care. She has received numerous honors, including inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 1993-2015, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2005-2013, and Kansas City Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mary Beth earned her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1973 and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1976.